Cracking the code

Quick-response (QR) codes might be a key way for brands to attract or retain customers, according to a new ScanLife study. Results from the study showed that 62 percent of the scans converted to further engagements such as Web clicks, with 95 percent of the codes driving at least some action. When presented with relevant content, consumers increasingly preferred the convenient, immediate, mobile-optimized experience that QR codes enable from physical media such as print ads, product packaging and store displays, according to the study.


 ‘Shark Tank’ support

Approaching investors for $75,000 is no easy task — especially when you’re on ABC-TV’s “Shark Tank.” Yet, when Marine combat veteran Rob Dyer presented them with the caffeine-free nutritional supplement RuckPack, two of the investors “bit” at the offer. The shot was created on the battlefield in Afghanistan by Special Operations Forces Marines to withstand the rigors of war, Dyer said. In the end, panelists Kevin O’Leary and Robert Herjavec each invested $75,000 for a combined 20 percent of RuckPack’s parent company, Noots! Nutrition.


Android baristas

How smart is your cell phone? The founder of Diva Coffee, an Australian franchise chain, developed an app that allows consumers to brew their own coffee at home by using their Android phones or tablets. The app works via a controller that plugs into the back of a wide variety of home coffee machines, enabling consumers to set the temperature and program the size of the coffee, among other options. Each drink can be individualized to suit consumer preferences, and these selections can be stored in the app. The app software also adds power saving and boiler protection features to coffee machines, saving on electricity and repair costs, the company says.


Name that wine!

J Vineyards & Winery called on fans to enter its “Name That Pinot Noir Wine” contest via Twitter, Facebook or email. The company is seeking a name for its new 2012 multi-vineyard Estate Pinot Noir that will evoke mystery and capture the spirit of Sonoma County’s Russian River Valley, it says. The grand prize winner will be announced Jan. 14 and will receive six bottles of the newly named wine.


The tea anniversary

Montvale, N.J.-based Tetley USA, a British tea brand, has declared its 175th anniversary the “Tea Anniversary.” In celebration of the occasion, the brand donated supplies of its tea to 175 food banks throughout the country through Feeding America, a domestic hunger-relief charity. More than 10,000 boxes of Tetley tea were delivered in November to food banks across the nation, providing more than 500,000 cups of tea to those in need this winter, the company says. The celebration extended into December with the Brake for Tetley contest, which invited consumers to submit a 175-word entry describing how they take a break with Tetley tea. The grand prize winner received a Mini Countryman S car, and 175 runners-up received specialty limited-edition Tetley tea mugs, the company adds. 


Global appeal

France-based Champagne brand Moët & Chandon announced its partnership with champion tennis player Roger Federer, who will be the brand’s first global brand ambassador. Like Moët & Chandon, Federer radiates boldness, elegance and generosity and displays winning sportsmanship from the tennis court to the red carpet to giving back to the world community, the company says. In his new role as brand ambassador, Federer will take center stage in the brand’s upcoming advertising campaign, which will be revealed in March, it adds. 


A different kind of carol

This past holiday season, Stella Artois found a new way to send a holiday “Carole” right to consumers’ doors. The brand’s Holiday Carole Facebook app allowed users to create a customized holiday video message for themselves or friends and family that virtually sent Carole, a holiday caroler, to the recipient’s doorstep with a virtual Stella Artois limited-edition holiday bottle, a personalized Stella Artois glass and a note from the sender. The app used Google Street View and Maps technology to insert maps and images of the recipient’s neighborhood as Carole traveled to the recipient’s residence to deliver the holiday greeting.


Art appreciation

The Guinness Storehouse in Dublin opened the Guinness Connoisseur Bar Experience to give visitors of legal drinking age the opportunity to learn how to appreciate and taste the most popular Guinness brews. After learning the legacy behind each Guinness variant, visitors participate in an introductory sensory exploration led by a trained Guinness expert who explains how to appropriately examine the beer through sight, taste and smell. Beer aficionados also will learn about pouring rituals and flavor notes through a tutored tasting session of Guinness Draught, Guinness Foreign Extra Stout, Guinness Original and Guinness Black Lager varieties.  At the end of the experience, visitors will receive a VIP tasting card and exclusive lapel pin that signify their newly acquired knowledge and expertise as a Guinness connoisseur.


Creative call-outs

 In honor of the 2012 St-Germain Can Can Classic Cocktail Competition, the Paris-based brand unveiled a luxury display at select high-end liquor stores across America. The displays showcased both the artisanal product and the special-edition bicycles being awarded to the competition’s 100 runners-up.