Part 3 – looking at new methods that are taking the communications world by storm.
This part: QR Codes – pretty barcode or effective new communication route? They are starting to be seen everywhere – billboards, newspapers & magazines and on the side of product packs. In Japan they are even appearing on tombstones!
Recently (June 2011) Kelloggs reported 40,000 QR Codes scans from their cereal pack to specific video website during its Crunchy Nut cereal promotion in the United States. Users were directed to a site that displayed one of thirteen videos, according to whatever time of the day it was where they were located. This is a great example of how QR codes are starting to be used but are they just a passing ‘fad’ or here to stay?
So what are QR codes, how do they work and more importantly what opportunities do they offer a communications campaign? Here are five main points on QR codes:
- QR (Quick Response) Code is a 2D barcode that can be read by special software on a camera phone, usually as a free download on a smart phone.
- A QR code can contain a URL, calendar event, contact info (such as a vCard), SMS text message or other action. How these are handled may depend on the QR scanner used.
- QR is a published, and market-proven, ISO standard. Plus, thanks to patent-holder Denso-Wave they are free to generate and use.
- QR codes offer a way for non-digital products and services to leverage the internet and mobile marketing all at the same time. From direct mail to magazines to outdoor advertising. Using QR codes to direct readers online for further information, videos on ‘How to Use’, data capture or even just exchanging virtual business cards.
- They are track-able – something at Verve we consider to be crucial in any communication campaign.
The Verve Verdict:
Whilst the Japanese have been using QR codes for nearly a decade this is still relatively new in the UK. Fast internet access is still not available on every UK street and even more isn’t free. Plus users have to download the QR reading software so doesn’t guarantee every phone can access them. However, these are minor points that will be resolved soon. More is the question of whether things like Microsoft tags will overtake QR codes in their use and will fade away as another internet fad. Until that happens however we believe they are an innovative and effective communications tool that should be tested and fairly confidently speaking, incorporated in any communications. Its current form (big, ugly squares and rectangles) may also be a fad, but the concept will be around for the foreseeable future, given our increasing reliance on mobile technology.