My Banana Had a QR Code. And You Won’t Believe What it Told Me.

by Paul Cowan

I was going to enjoy my daily potassium and vitamin B intake the other day and I couldn’t help but notice that my banana has a QR code on it. Normally, I would ignore the sticker on the banana and proceed with peeling it, but that day I felt entirely inquisitive.

Now I have to credit Dole for taking advantage of this unique packaging opportunity to deliver marketing messages. I can’t say that I have seen much on fruit advertising lately, but this is right up there with ‘back-of-parking-receipt’ ads and ‘dry-cleaner hanger’ ads in terms of media innovation.

After being told by Dole that this banana is great on the grill and that I should “Peel the love”, I was wondering what lay behind that QR code? Grilling recipes? Some sort of NSFW banana stripping game? My mind was racing…

So I snapped a shot of the QR code and was whisked away to here: www.dolefoodservice.com/bananas. And this is where I question what marketers are thinking when they launch a bunch of tactics like this.

I hit the Dole website and was greeting by their Labor Day promotion. They get points for integration, as they clearly were able to integrate the “Peel the love” program, in both on-banana advertising as well as online.

Intrigued, I continued to scroll and found out more about the promotion, albeit the tour dates had long passed and were not locally relevant given my location being in Toronto, Canada. I’ll give the marketing team the benefit of the doubt and blame the distribution centre for shipping the wrong crate of bananas. Still, there was nothing for me to action.

I continued scrolling and came across some recipes, which I was kind of expecting, but to my surprise, there weren’t any grilling recipes featured! Kind of a let down I actually was wondering how to grill bananas. Their sticker had me intrigued, but didn’t close the deal.

There is clearly a lot of effort here and Dole is doing a lot right. Mobile. Check! QR Code. Check! Content Marketing. Check! Integration. Check! But I wondered what the objectives of this program were? Continue my banana loyalty? Get me deeper engaged in Dole as my beloved banana provider?

The challenge is the continuity with the overall experience. I took the time and made the effort and it delivered me info that wasn’t relevant to me and didn’t give me any additional value.

In today’s day and age of attention deficient consumers, providing the tightest experience possible is paramount. Guide me, step-by-step and give me more value along the way. I need rewards, not hurdles.

The banana was eaten. Straight up.