QR codes need to be a value add

The will/they won’t they engage question still remains when it comes to those little black marker codes that litter the corners of our print media. Are brands using the full potential? Do consumers see the need? Does anyone really care?

With news of one QR code company creating, what they believe to be, the largest QR code in the world (Some 10,000 square feet) and another business offering to paint massive QR codes on the top of buildings for inclusion into Google Maps, it may appear that we have got too wrapped up in the technology to see the real value to a consumer.

Although awareness of QR codes is low, at only 10% according to a recent survey, making codes bigger isn’t necessarily the answer. A key example here being the giant Calvin Klein QR code from a year ago, which had plenty of PR but only actually linked through to an ad by the brand.

So, are consumers engaging and what do they want? Well, the same survey outlined that 19% of UK consumers are scanning QR codes. Even more when you consider the 18-34 age bracket, where almost a third happily hold their mobile up to these little barcodes. Curiosity drives around a quarter, but the real lure is discounts or offers which pull in almost half of active users. It seems the message ringing loud and clear here is that people what something to show for going the extra mile with an ad, some ownable value, whether it be a money off voucher or some from of exclusive content.

QR codes need to be viewed as pathways to additional content, delivering entertainment potential that can augmented a static print ad or deliver additional benefits around an experiential activity. However, they also need to be built in to the overall promotion from the offset and not treated like a postage stamp on a letter once the campaign is sealed in its activation envelope.

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