QR codes and readers have had a rough time, no one seems to be too sure if they’ve ‘taken off’ or not, and while many companies seem to be adopting them in their print advertising, this might be down to the relative lack of extra effort required to include them rather than a testament to their success.
I like QR codes, simply because I don’t want to see print media die, and QR codes are the natural link between print and digital. We’ve seen some absolute disastrous uses of them in the past, including this badly thought out example.
It’s not all bad though, here are two recent examples of companies doing amazing things with those fuzzy little squares.
1. The Shadow QR Code – Korea
Recognising that there was a lag in customer numbers in the middle of the day, e-mart, the Korean answer to walmart, came up with this brilliant sundial-esque style QR code.
Between 12pm and 1pm the statue casts the shadow of a QR code which can be scanned by smart phones to unlock a discount to be used in store. They gave away 12,000 coupons, saw their membership rise by 58% and they saw a 25% increase in sales over the dreaded lunch time period. Result!
2. Where did you wear it? Encourages safe sex.
Planned Parenthood of the Great Northwest dished out condoms which included QR codes, allowing users to ‘check in’ to a website anonymously and let me the world know they practiced safe sex. It’s also possible to check-in via the website, which plots the countries sexcapades on a map.
Not only does this open up a taboo topic, but it’s also a great example of social media and technology promoting a worthwhile cause.