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The QR Code Controversy - Are They Dead?

Recently B.L. Orchman wrote a piece for Ad Age Digital with this
headline and tagline: QR Codes Are Dead, Trampled by Easier-to-Use Apps - New Technology Can Make Almost Any Product Interactive, No Download Needed." Whew!  That would make you think investing in a smart campaign that correctly uses QR Codes might be a waste of time.  But hold on there...all is not as it seems. QR Code Video

The article makes a big deal out of how new technology can make products "come alive" by simply "touching your smartphone to a product".  Trouble is...each of the tech items mentioned requires a download.  And, because there are three different technologies highlighted...that is three downloads. (Never mind that the tag line says you don't need to download...you do.)

QR Codes are far from "dead".  While many consumers still have not figured out what they are and how to activate them, QR Code use continues to increase.  And, if you are smart about explaining what they are and how to use them they will make a difference in driving traffic to where you want consumers to go.

BTW one of the downsides of an app is that you, as a business, have the cost of creating the app and then marketing the app to consumers whom you HOPE will take the time to download your nifty new contraption.  Meanwhile, out side of some proprietary code readers, a QR Code reader is free and so too is the conversion from a url to a QR Code.  One and it's done.

So, before you order flowers for the funeral it might be a good time to re-think QR Code use.  Need some help?  We're here.

If you want to read the Ad Age article, here is that link.




If you would like to comment here, feel free.  And/OR let's connect on our advertising agency Twitter Stream and/or our agency Facebook Page which is right here.


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in my publication, (tables ads) i will not allow a QR of less than one inch. My publication is not always read in a well lit surrounding. I know that about 1/2 the phones today are not new!!. and using an older phone with a poor camera, in a not perfect situation is making 1/2 the customers shake their head in frustration, because they cant read it with their phone. I know a brand new galaxy can read a 1/4 code. but a 5 year old droid cannot. therefore, using a code too small, you are eliminating a lot of good customers. (Like opening a gas station and only selling diesel. watching all the cars drive by and can't stop at your place, because you were not considerate enough to sell gas)
I ALSO wont sell an ad with a qr unless it leads to a mobile site (whether it be the one we provide, or facebook or any mobile site) or a quick load limited information site

This is better than a CONTACT QR, which again does not work in some situations.

So frustrating to go to a site, a full desktop site, and it takes longer to load, and you cannot find anything scrolling your thumb back and forth, up and down, eventually clicking off the site in frustration.

I believe if all qr codes lead to a mobile site, there would not be this conversation of its coming death. Everyone would have a good experience using it, and use it more often.
It is the business owner who thinks he is getting into the NEW age of advertising by putting a QR everywhere, that leads to an unreadable site.

Justin Brady

I think the QR future looks bleak, mainly because of their many limitations.

They need to be large, must be contained in an ugly white box, must take up a considerable amount of space, clutter up design and can't be used everywhere (billboards, outfield ads etc.) and don't add any real convenience. It's just as easy to scan a code as it is to read a url. (and you can memorize a URL).

I wrote a two part series on them in my blog.
Part 1: http://blog.testoftimedesign.com/2011/06/should-you-use-qr-codes-part-1.html
Part 2: http://blog.testoftimedesign.com/2011/06/qr-code-bandwagon-part-2.html
Part 3: http://blog.testoftimedesign.com/2011/07/qr-code-bandwagon-part-3.html

Justin Brady

...three part. ;-) oops.

Sandee Overstreet

If a business invests money and time in QR codes, it's like everything else: they have to make sure to let their current and future clients know about it and how to use it.

The funniest use of a QR code is the one slapped on a billboard, standing by an interstate, highway or any road. Really?

Michael Libbie

Sandy, So true. You would be surprised at how some businesses think. For example, not long ago we created an entire campaign for a client with loads of variations. However, once done the client only had enough money to distribute to a handful of outlets. The best creative ideas go nowhere if nobody sees them. It's amazing to me... And, you are right about the billboard QR. Oh my! Thanks for reading and for the comment! - Michael

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