Wasting Money On QR Codes

It's an age-old question: If a marketer puts a QR code in an in-flight magazine -- on a flight without Wi-Fi -- what was said marketer smoking? The answer -- as it recently occurred to Allison Owen, Digital Media Specialist at The Integer Group -- is obvious. (Crack, we assume.) It is, however, a perfect example of the many ill-conceived mobile marketing campaigns out there, today.   

Likewise, Brian Stoller, Leader of Digital Strategy at Mindshare North America, hates seeing QR codes in subways in New York City. Even if he didn't want to engage with the campaigns, which Stoller admits he rarely does, there's no way to do so. (Not yet anyway, as New York City is working on Wi-Fi-supported subways.) Worse still, Stoller adds, is when QR codes drive traffic to non-mobile optimized sites. What sort of brand would do something so stupid?! Coke, according to Stoller.

7 comments about "Wasting Money On QR Codes".
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  1. Len Stein from Visibility Public Relations, May 14, 2012 at 2:56 p.m.

    even worse, public recognition of QR is infinitesimal. Who knows you need a reader app. The ads never point you to download an app before you can interact? Not ready for fringe time imho

  2. Walter Sabo from SABO media, May 14, 2012 at 11:19 p.m.

    QR codes are a good example of VC's, geeks, and "digital marketers" working together, inventing something interesting, slapping each other on the back and failing to tell anyone outside of the meeting what just happened.

  3. Dean Collins from Cognation Inc, May 15, 2012 at 8:57 a.m.

    Yeh but have you seen how bad the web was when it started in the 90's or worse MySpace in the 00's?

    Blaming QR code for bad implementation is like blaming HTML for ugly makes you look silly.

    Dean Collins

  4. Dale Knoop from RAZ Mobile, May 15, 2012 at 10:37 a.m.

    Most, if not all, smartphones have QR readers pre-loaded at the request of the carrier. AT&T has rolled out services as well aimed at SMBs in an attempt to get them to use the codes in conjunction with optimized sites.

  5. Laura Marriott from NeoMedia Technologies, May 15, 2012 at 1:59 p.m.

    We agree with the author’s position that poorly executed campaigns generate sub standard results. When the consumer experience is not appropriately considered, QR codes become ineffective. However, when a brand follows best practices and incorporates the QR call to action properly (see, QR codes can enable a successful brand experience and drive strong results including affinity and ROI. When campaigns are implemented effectively, QR codes can be the bridge to allow your customer to dialogue with your brand time and time again.

  6. Doug Garnett from Atomic Direct, May 15, 2012 at 5:23 p.m.

    QR codes solve a problem that doesn't really exist. What does fussing with a QR code offer a consumer that they can't get by just entering a website or a product name in Google/Bing?

    Nothing. Or at least so little that it's not worth the hassle of futzing around with the QR reader, having it get it wrong, maybe not recognize it at all, or bomb out in the meantime.

    And so, as a consumer, I've come to fully ignore qr codes - they are just meainingless visual noise that some theory thought was important.

    Now I know this is harsh. But this same idea was tried in 1999 and failed despite hundreds of millions invested. Do we never learn?

  7. alan beesley from 3zaps, May 16, 2012 at 6:24 a.m.

    Marketers hate giving up space in ads to explain stuff. But we need to if QR's are to become main stream. Our state authorities in UK are running QR's on all their publications along with explanation panels. Unusually its public sector leading the way here. It won't really take off however until retailers start using QR codes to activate mobile checkouts. Once customers realise they can buy stuff quickly on a smartphone - word of mouth will do the rest in my view.

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