Adding QR Codes to Chili's Create-A-Pepper Effort Gives Campaign Added Dimensions

If you add a QR-code to a paper icon campaign, just how many code scans can you expect?

Chili’s, the restaurant chain, added a QR code to its Create-A-Pepper paper icon which engendered 291,000 scans in September 2011. As of this writing, the Create-A-Pepper campaign generated $3,013,735 in donations to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital so far in 2011.

It’s tempting to conclude that almost 10 percent of people who bought a Create-A-Pepper paper icon also scanned the QR code, but it’s not quite that simple.

Not all the money from Create-A-Pepper campaign comes from the paper icons and Create-A-Pepper lasts longer than just September, which is National Childhood Cancer Awareness Month. Moreover, Chili’s had a different QR code on other campaign marketing materials in restaurants which led people to a thank you from a St. Jude patient.

“As the latest trend in mobile technology, QR codes gave Chili’s a unique way to say thank you while encouraging guests to donate to the Create-A-Pepper to Fight Childhood Cancer campaign,” Chili’s spokeswoman Julie Flowers told

“By incorporating the QR codes into this charitable campaign, it was a great way to relate to Chili’s tech-savvy guests while giving St. Jude supporters another, easily accessible way to donate to the charity,” she said.

But wait, there’s more.

Chili’s patrons who scanned a QR code and opted-in to receive emails got an unique trackable donation link they could send to friends and their social network. The more people who donated to St. Jude via the link, the more benefits…think free appetizers and desserts… accrued to the patron.


My friend and fellow cause marketing blogger and author Joe Waters and I were once talking enviously about another one of St. Jude’s admirable and compelling cause marketing efforts. Joe said, St. Jude puts out ‘cause marketing porn.’

Here’s yet another case in point.

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