Classic BMW Learns Customer is “QR Code” Savvy at 2011 Cleveland Auto Show

BMW is utilizing QR codes, like the one found in the dashboard of this blue BMW convertible, as a purchase incentive.  When scanned, this code lands consumers on the BMW Facebook Page offer.  Current offer is  a free $100 gas card upon purchase of a BMW. Photo by Gregory Jackson.

Willoughby based BMW Classic Cars believes that technology is an integral part of their business model for maintaining positive customer relations.  The dealership, which contributes to the, also uses a Classic BMW’s iPhone App, Yelp, Facebook Places,, Foursquare, Twitter and to connect socially with current and potential customers.

It is no surprise then that Classic BMW, representing area BMW dealers, unveiled a unique QR code1 at the Cleveland Auto Show, February 26 through March 6, 2011.  By scanning the code a consumer lands on their Facebook fan page which currently offers a special purchase incentive of a free $100 gas card upon purchase of a BMW. (BMW generated their QR code using’s automatic QR code generator2.)

During the first four days of the Auto Show scans were a lot higher than expected according to BMW Classic sales manager, Ty Whiting.  “On Friday night we had 11, Saturday generated 97 scans,” Whiting said.  “After Sunday there were 150 scans, and into Monday 157.”

Three weeks before the Auto Show BMW placed a QR code ad in the News Herald and Plain Dealer that generated a total of 9 scans from an audience looking for a BMW.  With thousands of people expected to walk through the BMW exhibit, the staff didn’t know what to expect.

Whiting notes that Classic BMW is big on social media with use of the QR code providing another avenue to engage customers. “We’re hoping for at least 500 scans,” Whiting said.  “With thousands of people going to the show this is a great place to test it out.”  Classic BMW ended the show on March 6 with 420 scans, an increase of 366% over their recent newspaper ad activity.

With Smartphone adoption on the rise, Capstone Media wonders if those in the market for a new car would consider a $100 gas card from a QR code scan to be a purchase incentive. Opinions? Please leave your comments.


1A QR code is a 2-dimensional bar code that can be scanned using a Smartphone or WiFi, 3G (or 4G) mobile devices.  Growing interest in QR Codes is the result of increased Smartphone use.  It is estimated that the number of Smartphone users will surpass that of feature phones in Q3 of this year, according to Nielsen data.   300,000 new Android subscribers and 275,000 iPhone activate a day. is a URL shortener that measures web analytics. offers 2 free categories: service that shortens URL and shares links, and Pro for Bloggers and Small Businesses. Pro shortens URL and shares links, but also incorporates a dashboard for aggregating click data.   The paid version – Pro for Enterprise also provides granular analytics, unrestricted API and branding options on a monthly fee basis.


200 Scan QR Code and “Plan Your Visit” at Playhouse Square.”  Capstone Media Insights, March 11, 2011..

QR Complements Campaign at Cleveland Art Museum to Draw Attendance.”  Capstone Media Insights, December 15, 2010.