2D QR Codes

February 13, 2011

I went to a talk the other day on how 2D QR (quick response) codes could be used in advertising campaigns. Interestingly, they are still viewed as a new technology in the UK despite the fact that they were embraced by Japan as early as the mid-1990s, and are now a key means for marketers to inform and engage mobile consumers in the market.

So, what are 2D QR codes? It’s a two dimensional barcode, which means that it contains information in both the vertical and horizontal directions, whereas a typical barcode only contains data in one direction only. Therefore a QR code can hold a considerably larger amount of information and therefore have the potential to revolutionise the way we get information and interact.

QR codes can also contain different formats of data, from videos and internet content, simply by scanning the barcode with a QR reader through your smartphones camera.

So how has advertising used QR codes so far? During the Waitrose Christmas TV campaign a QR code popped up on screen for viewers to scan to receive the free Waitrose app containing recipes, an interactive gift guide and an advent calendar. But, with the QR code only being displayed for a few seconds, viewers were unlikely to capture the code unless they themselves had ‘quick response’ reactions, or had recorded the ad on sky+.. unlikely.

Here are a few examples of some good uses though; Nike are deploying QR Codes at sporting events to deliver athlete information to fans, Microsoft are putting them on their next round of packaging for their X-Box games and Gap has codes in the store to help people decide which jean is the right fit for their body type.

So why is the inception of QR codes in the UK not taking off as quickly as Japan? They give consumers the choice to access additional information, without it being forced into their hands or eyes, making it an engaging and interactive process. Perhaps its the lack of awareness, or the fact that there is still a large percentage of the population yet to own a smartphone.

I guess we will just have to wait and see, but for the mean time scan my QR code below to access my..



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