Preface: I have left QR codes with a link to this article in random public places as a test to see if people do infact scan random codes, if you are here as a result of scanning a code, I am sorry if I offend you in any point of the article (Also this kinda proves a point you have no idea what you’re visiting when you scan a code)
So this morning I saw a poster, with basically a title and a QR code. This is possibly the worst marketing since Buried in Verona’s Facebook page (Honestly, I know about your ‘new’ single I am Hate, It’s been out for 18 months now stop spamming me) But this poster, really, do you expect me to stop, astounded by your generic title, pull out my phone, download a QR code reader (does anyone actually keep those apps?) and scan your code just to get a link to your website, which is probably not mobile ready, and would have taken half the time to just type in the damn URL, in the end I don’t want your extra absorbent tampons, I am a teenage boy I just had no idea what I was scanning because your freaking poster had no freaking information in it about your freaking product.
Ok, calmer now.. sorry about that. All that goes through my head every time I see your poster with a large QR code on it, stop doing it, They have their uses, giving me a 10 character url is not one of them.
Let me list some real and incredibly stupid uses for QR codes I have seen
- All posters and advertisements
- The side of coffee cups (to show give a link to their website, why do they even need your website idiots)
- Art assignments (literally paintings with QR codes next to them, just print the bloody information)
- Product boxes (really? What information do you need to give me which you could write on the box)
- The side of a freaking racecar, it is going 300km/h how is anyone meant to scan that?
There are actually good uses for QR codes, they aren’t always crappy (however they are most of the time) I have seen some excellent uses for these things. I think one of the best was a digital coffee stamp app, you know those systems where you buy 10 coffees and get a free one? Like with the cards and little stamps? Well a digital version of them, it was a brilliant idea. Basicly you downloaded this app, which worked for multiple coffee shops (I love it when the world does things right).
When you bought a coffee you simply opened this app, which opened directly to a scanner, scanned the code on the cup (individual for each cup) and your free coffee was counted, when you had earn’t your free coffee redeeming it was as simple as showing the person serving you the code given back from the app, which they mark off and you get a free drink. This was brilliant, a use of a QR code which actually simplified a general task.
Another technology with such potential, being used for all the wrong reasons and making life harder rather then simpler. PS if you came here via a link you scanned with your phone I take back everything I said, maybe people do actually take the time to do these. However I don’t recommend littering the world with QR codes to your website a valid method of advertising.
If you would like detail on how QR codes actually work, or if I haven’t convinced you how stupid they are most of the time check this post out http://gizmodo.com/5969312/how-qr-codes-work-and-why-they-suck-so-hard
Edit: I have forgotten a major use for these things, sending URL’s and app download links to mobile phones. This is a brilliant use, I have nothing against that, however I generally still just iMessage myself the link (someone really should create some sort of really easy method of sending links to phones)