Credit: Doug Ross

Believing that two-dimensional bar codes are the next big thing, The Wills Co., in Nashville, Tenn., is using this cutting-edge technology in a print ad and on its business cards. The bar code in the ad takes readers directly to a video on The Wills Co. website of company owners Ridley Wills and Wendell Harmer talking about their company’s process and philosophy; the bar code on the business cards takes users to the company’s homepage.

“It’s a video business card,” Wills says. “It makes print much more viable. It expands you immensely.” Wills anticipates that the 2-D bar codes will soon be everywhere and he wanted his company on the forefront of that trend.

Explain & Educate

The company decided that Nashville’s Nfocus, a high-end lifestyle magazine that reaches The Wills Co.’s target market, would be a good venue to launch the bar code, specifi cally the publication’s “Homes of Distinction” issue, which features one of the company’s projects.

The company’s marketing coordinator, Aris Yowell, created the free Microsoft Tag and placed it in an ad that reads, “Tag, you’re it.” The ad includes a brief explanation of how to use the tag; smart phone users must download an application so their phone can read the tag. The bar code in the ad takes readers to a video on the company’s website, which, Yowell says, has received about 200 hits from the tag. “We got double what the ad was worth,” she says, “with capitalizing on that placement of the ad and also our video connected to it.”

Video Value 

At a cost of less than $1,000 The Wills Co. hired a freelance videographer to shoot the footage of Wills and Harmer and an editor to edit the clip. “The video is where the value is — it allows people to ‘virtually’ meet Ridley and Wendell,” Yowell says. “They have a dynamic partnership and come across as so genuine ... It humanizes the company.”

Now that the company has an introductory video, Yowell plans to take shorter clips from the video and create tags for future ads. Though she can’t attribute specifi c sales to the ad that has the 2-D tag, she says it was helpful in driving traffi c to The Wills Co.’s website. “The tricky thing about advertising is that there’s not necessarily a tangible return on investment,” Yowell says. “We’ve been hitting our goals in terms of leads. I have to think the ad has contributed to that.”

—Nina Patel, senior editor, REMODELING.