1. What is a QR Code?
A QR (quick response) code is a two-dimensional barcode readable by QR scanners, smart mobile phones with a camera. QR codes can be used to link to any URL. They can also be used to automatically add information into a user’s smartphone such as a calendar event, map or personal contact information. A QR code is capable of storing several hundred times more information than a conventional barcode and is readable from any direction.
2. Uses of QR Codes
Many companies are now using QR codes in various aspects of their marketing plans. QR codes can be displayed on billboards, posters, brochures, direct mailers, and point-of-purchase displays. They can direct customers to your brand’s Twitter, Facebook sites or YouTube videos demonstrating your brand in action. A QR code can be placed on window decals and other merchandise to encourage Foursquare check-ins or prompt customers to share photos and videos about your business through Flickr and YouTube. Window decals can act as part of a customer rewards program by rewarding scanning patrons with a discount or some free merchandise.
QR codes give your business the capability of making any ad interactive. They are extremely versatile and can be placed almost anywhere. This allows companies to reach a much larger consumer market by using a QR code in areas not previously touched by their ads. Businesses are able to easily track Returns On Investments (ROI) via QR codes to assess print-based media effectiveness. QR codes have limitless possibilities and having been popping up on buses, buildings and even t- shirts around the world turning any object into a point-of-sale display.
4. Who is Using QR Codes?
- Home Depot - One of the first to implement QR codes into their stores. Consumers can scan the QR code placed on the price tag for a leaf blower and are redirected to the Home Depot website section specific to leaf blowers allowing them to compare all products available in the palm of their hand.
- Target - November 2010 – Most recently in their Holiday Toy Catalog – Consumers will be able to receive additional information regarding specific toys and even receive discounts from their phones in the coupon section of the catalog.
- McDonalds - In Japan QR codes are placed on all McDonalds food packaging giving consumers a link to additional nutritional information.
- Google - In December of 2009 they announced that their “Favorite Places” will contain QR codes and now provide businesses with window decals displaying QR code links to Google Maps.
- Chevy - Placed QR codes on their cars during a SXSW festival.
- Starbucks - Utilized mobile QR codes that allow consumers to pay with a simple scan.
- Adidas Japan - Placed a QR code on the FIFA World Cup 2010 website that automatically took users to their mobile website.
- Facebook - Gave 450 million users and brands a QR code linking to their Facebook profile or fan page.
- HBO - Used a QR code to link viewers to a video trailer for their upcoming season of the hitseries “True Blood.”
- The City of New York - Showcased a giant QR code in the middle of Times Square.
- Calvin Klein - Featured a QR code on a NYC billboard to promote their Calvin Klein Jeans.
- Inception - Movies posters around the U.S. featured QR codes to promote the box office hit.
- New York City - Put QR codes on 2,200 sanitation trucks around the city that linked to a video about recycling.
- Clinique - Used QR code to promote their new product in an ad for Vogue Magazine.
- Fox TV - Used QR codes to promote their television shows: “Glee” and “The Fringe.”
- The GAP - Featured in-store QR codes to promote their “Black Magic Pant Collection.”