Despite quick response (QR) codes’ prominence, little is known about their embedding in pull-based communications. This study aims to measure QR code effects in print advertising along five different stages of consumer decision making, using advertisement appeals with moderating effects of product category involvement.Design/methodology/approachData were derived from a German market research initiative with 326,212 consumer evaluations for 792 real print advertisements from 26 product categories. Multinomial logit models were used to investigate the effects of QR code presence on consumer reactions.FindingsQR codes steer purchase intention in a low-involvement product category if used alongside an emotional appeal. Advertisements for high-involvement products benefit if QR codes are combined with an overall informational appeal. QR codes do not enhance the persuasive effects of advertisements’ informational appeals in a low-involvement product category.Research limitations/implicationsThe effects of QR codes on consumers’ responses cannot be analysed in isolation but depend on advertisement context. They interact with advertisements’ informational and emotional appeals and product category involvement.Practical implicationsMarketers should not use QR codes indiscriminately but should carefully consider advertisement context. QR codes should be used alongside an emotional appeal if the marketer’s objective is to induce purchase intention in low-involvement settings. Advertisements for high-involvement products need to combine QR codes with an informational appeal.Originality/valueThis study highlights the interplay of effects in print advertisements, which are typically considered push-based when they are combined with QR codes as pull-based communications in the digital marketing area.
European Journal of Marketing – Emerald Publishing
Published: Jan 7, 2020
Keywords: QR code; Advertisement effectiveness; Involvement; Informational appeal; Emotional appeal
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