Creative Marketing at Its Best: Let Busy Korean Consumers Shop for Groceries in the Subway

January 13, 2012 § Leave a comment

This is from 2011, but is SO AWESOME that it deserves to be blogged about again 🙂

Tesco’s supermarket chain in Korea, known as HomePlus, wasn’t doing very well compared to its competitors. One of their setbacks was the number of stores they owned, so in order to reach more customers without increasing the number of locations they brought in a (very cool) marketing campaign that brought the supermarket to the Korean consumer. Putting up advertisements in the subway that were pictures of the actual store shelves of HomePlus locations, people waiting in line at the subway could snap pictures of the QR codes below each product and get their groceries delivered to them–without ever stepping into the actual store.

I wish something this awesome could come to America as well, but there’s a few reasons why I think this could only have been such a success in Korea:

  1. Delivery service is amazing in Seoul. I used to joke with a friend that even if I ordered dinner, late, while at a Buddhist temple in the middle of the mountains, my jjigae (broad term referring to Korean spicy stew) would still find its way to me. Delivery in America, on the other hand? Depends on the city, and depends on the restaurant/bakery… and isn’t nearly as cultural a fixture.
  2. The subway is a very important part of almost every Seoulite’s life. Thus the exposure that HomePlus was getting was concentrated and large-scale–whereas America only has a few subway systems, so reach is less far. Also, most subway advertisements (large ones, at least) that I’ve seen in San Francisco and Boston are on the far end of the wall, across the tracks. So unless the ads were closer, or in/on the subway cars themselves, people have no way of getting close enough to scan the QR codes or peruse the 2D snack aisle.
  3. Korea is technologically very advanced, so the majority of people who have phones have sophisticated ones that are smart and have QR code scanners built-in. Smartphones aren’t nearly as widespread in America.

Regardless, this is a very cool example of culturally relevant and innovative marketing/branding/advertising. Check out the short and well-explained video!


Read more:

Digital Marketing Strategies: What’s Next in Consumer Marketing

Tesco builds virtual shops for Korean commuters



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