Posts Tagged QR Codes
QR codes, they show up in magazine ads, maps, food packaging, posters, leaflets, business cards, emails, websites and even on the sides of buses. They’re everywhere, however, a lot of people still don’t know what they are or how to use them.
Simply, a QR (Quick Response) Code is a two dimensional barcode. These codes are square in shape and made up of black and white squares. It is capable of encoding large amounts of data, such as a link to a video or website, contact information for a person or business, marketing promotions etc. An example (my personal favourite) of QR in action is McDonald’s using them on packaging in Japan so consumers can access nutritional information and review the amount of calories, fat, and carbohydrates in their meal. (Although if you’re eating McDonalds whilst concerned about watching what you eat, then perhaps you’re in the wrong establishment). The code fits on the packaging better then lines of text and allows the dietary information to hide from anyone who isn’t overly eager to be reminded they’re eating rubbish. All users have to do is to take a picture of the code on their smart phone with a QR reader (free from an app store) and they will be directed to the desired information. A QR Code is a hard link between the physical world and virtual. A business could create offline magazine ads with a QR Code linking to their website with the information on that landing page changing every day.
A few brave souls in the UK have tried to crack it, most notably Pepsi, last November, by printing codes on 400,000,000 cans (and some great off-line shots of Kelly Brook) with very limited success. People simply didn’t know what to do and the explanations offered, whilst helpful, weren’t enough to get over the education chasm.
At present QR Codes are not in widespread use in the UK yet, but all the required technology is in place and ready to be exploited for it to flourish. The platform is mature and is effectively used by companies and consumers predominantly in Asia. QR Codes are perceived to be cutting edge (even though they have been around since 1994) and are so easy to use, as well as versatile, that they provide instant value to individuals and companies alike. This technology has the opportunity to play an enabling role in mobile marketing strategy for product sales, information access and customer engagement but if a half naked Kelly Brook can’t get people taking a photo i don’t know what will.