I’ve not hidden the fact that I really dislike QR codes in the past. I don’t have an issue with the concept: directing people from an offline ad straight to a website or app with one swipe of a smartphone is great marketing. But what I do have an issue with is that a) the technology is immature, and b) marketers really do not understand how or when to use it.
Take the example here that I discovered on the London Underground today. Yes, the Underground. Which, last time I checked, was ‘under the ground’. Which means there’s no mobile signal. Which means even the most brilliant piece of QR code marketing will not work. Which means that the chances of me ‘finding my perfect job’ are, I’d say, quite limited. And I’m just guessing here, but I reckon that Success Appointments’ ad campaign won’t be that, well, successful.
It’s naive and nonsensical marketing; using technology for the sake of using technology. In this instance, even despite the fact that the poster is underground, I had to stand in the tunnel like a lemon for a few minutes waiting for people to pass just so I could take this picture. Would I have waited there and then bent double to actually scan the code? No. Not today, not ever.
And this is compounded by the code itself. Look at it: how complex is that?! Anyone who’s produced a QR code in anger will know that you need to make it as simple as possible for a QR reader to identify, and that there are certain techniques you use to optimise it and ensure this. I didn’t try it for the aforementioned citrus-related reasons, but I reckon it’d would’ve taken a great degree of dexterity and an even greater degree of patience to get that code working.
So come on marketers, isn’t it about time we wised up? If you’re thinking about using a QR code, please think about the context in which it will be displayed and whether or not anyone’s likely to scan it. If they’re not, you’re wasting valuable advertising real estate and your brand’s money in equal measure.
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