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The funny looking box you see above is a not new technology; however the QR Code is pretty foreign to us in the U.S. QR stands for Quick Response. In the next decade, I believe QR codes will start popping up in U.S. media providing our culture with what we love best; content delivery that is easy and FAST.

The QR Code is a kind of 2D barcode that contains a plethora of personalized digital data. It is primarily used to send links to your mobile device. A simple snapshot with your camera phone and the QR Code sends the necessary information to open your web browser to a specific URL site or text message. 2D barcodes allow advertisers and publishers to push relevant digital content directly to consumers? mobile phones when they are most interested in a product or service. This technology bypasses the search engine stage, allowing advertisers and publishers to give people more information at the moment of awareness.

What are QR codes and what are they already doing?
Currently, QR codes are being used as a tool to get more information. You see a code in a magazine, snap a pic, and it directs you to the product site on your mobile phone. Japan and some European countries have taken this technology to a new level. They do use it for informational purposes; however it has opened the door to deeper consumer engagement and interactivity. QR codes are proving that they have the potential to do even more for advertisers and consumers alike.

Some innovative ideas:

  • URLs/CouponsDick’s Sporting Goods announced its new mobile site with QR coding at the new Cowboys Stadium during the University of Oklahoma vs. Brigham Young University bowl game. This was the first marketing campaign to place a QR code on a jumbo-tron during a sporting event. University of Oklahoma vs. Brigham Young University fans were encouraged to take a picture of the QR code and were directed to a coupon for the store. If your phone didn’t have QR technology, no problem. The website URL and an email address were clearly displayed as other ways to acquire the coveted coupon. A deeper explanation of the campaign and the results can be found online.
  • E-tickets – Imagine not having to wait in line for your Austin City Limits Music Festival wristband a week before the show starts or the three hour line on the day of. QR codes can completely eliminate the need for wristbands and tickets. After purchasing your ticket online you receive a QR codes to your mobile phone. A simple scan of your phone will show that you have purchased a three-day or one-day only pass. Once you have checked in, your ticket is marked as used. Also, imagine after you have checked in, your phone directs you to the ACL site, where you are able to view weather, time changes, band line-up, vendor maps, and more. QR codes could even eventually tell you exactly what song your favorite band is playing on what stage in real time. Most importantly, no lost ACL tickets and no need to be worried they won’t scan.
  • Business cards & Resumes – An awesome way to set you apart from the crowd. Why not include your LinkedIn QR code on your resume? Or your company’s website on your business cards?
  • Tattoos – I would grab some temporary ones for the office party. Or, if you want to go permanent that’s cool too. Just make sure it’s something to last a lifetime!
  • Billboards – Disney in Tokyo has Mickey Mouse QR codes that send you to the Disneyland website. Billboards in subway stations allow for easy point and shoot.
  • Branded QR codes- include a picture within the code and in color – These QR codes from BeQRious can have color or pictures imbeded in the code! Why not include your face on that resume? Or, put your company logo inside the QR code on that business card?
  • Swag and self-branding – Additional information is gained by using QR codes. Therefore, the potential use for them is limitless. The code can contain anything from your information, to your likes and dislikes, to what you like in a guy, to what your plans are for that night. Why not create a coffee mug, a hat, a scarf, even a baby bib. You can create your own patches. Instead of bumping on your iPhone, why not scan someone’s QR code to learn more about them? Hosting a charity event? Raise funds on location with QR coding.
  • Geography based tours and reviews – City Search and Antenna Audio launched a test run of geography based QR coding in the spring of 2008. QR codes were distributed around San Francisco in restaurants and at popular destinations. The codes included restaurant reviews, as well as audio tours and historical facts allowing tourists access to distinct decision making information.
  • Loyalty points system – In Japan, Coca Cola uses QR codes to reward loyal customers. Vending machines have QR codes imprinted on them, and consumers are invited to earn as many as they can, ultimately redeeming them to get prizes.
  • Secrets and acts of defianceThe Pet Shop Boys released a single in 2007 on which they denounced the idea of a British national identity card. On the CD cover, there was a QR code that directed to their attack on the system. Also, the entire music video sports different QR codes that link to civil liberties websites. Pretty cool that QR coding is being used to spawn political debate and protesting!
  • Alternative paintballing – No more immediate bruising from the paintballs flying at you at speeds approximately 60mph (at least that’s what it feels like). Players wear t-shirts with their own individualized QR code. A player snaps your QR code from afar and a text message is sent to you informing you of your demise, allowing for a high quality game sans the pain!
  • Intelligent advertising – changing the site location to match the weather. Dynamic QR codes are special codes can be updated in real time for businesses that sell products that might potentially have a need to change advertising in response to say, the weather. What if Gap had a billboard in the NYC subway station and the QR code directed the consumer to the GAP mobile homepage featuring a new line of flip-flops? Well, on Tuesday New York has a forecast of heavy rain. No, problem. Just switch out that QR code to direct consumers to the part of the website that highlights Gap’s new swanky umbrellas!
  • A great idea by DDB Brazil for Editoras Online – DDB Brazil in a campaign for Online, a Brazilian online bookstore, incorporated almost every valuable player in the media arena. QR codes are the single piece that molded the dynamic parts of the campaign together. This YouTube video explains the intricacies of the campaign far better than I could here. By far my favorite in terms of innovation and success! 33 Interactions has a great post by Jenine Wong that gives an extensive description of the campaign as well.
  • Tim Burton’s film “9″ used QR codes that allowed fans to view sneak peaks and hear commentary from the director.
  • Green Day‘s album, 21st Century Breakdown featured QR codes in posters, promo items, and ads directing you to a site with exclusive downloads and images of the band.
  • L.A. Candy, the newest book by Lauren Conrad sports a QR code on the back cover.

So, will QR codes be the “URL Killer“, as Garrick Schmitt and others have described it? In his article Schmitt says, “QR codes will become the primary bridge connecting real and virtual worlds.” As you can see from the aforementioned examples, these codes are one step in the direction of the inevitable merging and graying of media. One builds on the other builds on the next. The mobile revolution and the saturation of the online space have created a need for simpler URLs and innovative connections. And of course, as I mentioned in one of my previous blog entries, Mobile Marketing Prowess, the mobile consumer wants conversation. QR codes have opened the door to a broader and deeper range of personal targeting and communication, and they have the potential to become a value exchange of relevant, individualized, useful, and interesting information.

One Response to “Are you QRious?”

  1. Lilly says:

    Very informative post. Thanks for taking the time to share your view with us.



 

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