Online Exclusives

Degree Puts QR Code on the Fast Track

By Christine Esposito, Associate Editor | July 19, 2011

Unilever antiperspirant brand creates special program that links exclusive pack and NASCAR.

While some would say the AP/deo market is rather staid, some of the most innovative and successful marketing campaigns have come from in this under-the-arm category (think Old Spice and Axe). Now, Unilever’s Degree brand is moving into the fast lane, literally, with a special marketing program that links its new antiperspirant with NASCAR and quick response (QR) codes.
To support the roll out of Degree Men V12, a new AP designed specifically to respond to increases in adrenaline by releasing extra bursts of fragrance when men sweat, Unilever has created a special pack featuring Juan Pablo Montoya and a special QR code that is available exclusively at Target. By tapping into the code, NASCAR fans can get a sneak peek inside the adrenaline-fueled racing life of Juan Pablo Montoya and his Earnhardt Ganassi teammates through a new video series available at

And the videos series is also available to fans through what Unilever is calling the first-ever QR code placed on a NASCAR racecar.

According to Mike Dwyer, director of marketing for Degree, using the QR code went beyond the more traditional means of putting a brand on a NASCAR Sprint Cup Series car “It adds engagement and innovation,” he told

“We have a great relationship with Target and have developed a partnership which allows the new special edition Degree Men V12 featuring Juan Pablo Montoya to be available exclusively at Target.


The Degree QR code is on the back panel of Juan Pablo Montoya No. 42 racecar.

“We’re committed to innovation at retail and providing our retail partners with an opportunity to build on existing partnerships while offering our consumers a unique exclusive experience through this partnership – both on the shelf and through the content we are providing,” noted Dwyer.
The QR-coded car appeared for the first time at the Coke Zero 400 at Daytona International Speedway on July 2. NASCAR fans were able to capture photos of the QR Code with their mobile devices. The code, which is on the driver’s side rear quarter panel, will be a permanent part of Montoya's paint-scheme for the remainder of the 2011 Sprint Cup season, with new team videos rolling out throughout the remainder of the season, according to Unilever.

In addition, fans can also enter for the chance to win a VIP race experience with the Earnhardt Ganassi Racing team and meet Montoya when he hits the track at Sylvania 300 at New Hampshire Motor Speedway on Sept. 25. At the Sylvania 300, Degree Men will field a V12 inspired paint scheme on Montoya's No. 42.

Although QR codes are still an emerging technology, their usage is on the rise. According to a survey commissioned by Baltimore ad agency MGH, 32% of respondents said they’ve used a QR code, and 70% said they plan to use a QR code again or for the first time. For both those who have used one and those who plan to use one, the top motivator in scanning a code is to secure a coupon or discount (53% and 87%, respectively), according to MGH. The survey also found that 72% of smartphone users would be likely to recall an ad with a QR code.

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