August 13, 2013

The Misuse of QR Codes


Not to long ago, Charlie Kalech posted this picture as an example of a QR code placement that, practicality speaking, wasn’t really thought through. A couple of days ago I happened to see an ad campaign in the inside of a bus that used a QR code as well. In this instance it was implemented very well, practicality speaking.

QR CodeHowever, although it was very easy to scan; perfect size and right there in front of passengers, no one was scanning these codes, and I suspect no one ever will. The advertisement was for body hair removal. Would you hold your phone up for a few long moments at an ad that is all about body hair removal in order to scan the code in a bus full of people? I doubt it.

And if that isn’t enough, I found another interesting use of the QR code on their website. Yes, they have a QR code on their website. It’s on their contact form right under the ‘Submit’ button. This means that you are already on their website and they already have you looking at the contact form. So why would you grab for your phone, click on your code reader, wait for the “activating camera…” message to go away, hold your phone up and scan it?

I actually did scan it out of curiosity (and as research for this post) and discovered that it’s a click to call QR code. It presented the company phone number on my screen with a button to dial. I must admit that the use of the QR code in this case is quite cool, but again, why have that if you already have your four digit phone number prominently featured on the website. And if you already have the QR code, why not write “Scan this code to call”?

My point here is that there are many marketing tools and tactics out there, some better than others. The QR code is a nice concept (though some would argue it isn’t and should never be used anyway, but I won’t go into that right now), but as marketers it is up to us to implement it in a way that will best serve our clients and benefit the consumer. It has to be incorporated into an overall strategy in a wise manner and not just be used as a cool tool.

What do you think of the QR codes? Have you ever scanned one?

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