Advertising Design with QR Codes

I’ve been following this QR (quick read) code fad out of the corner of my eye for some time now… not totally convinced that it is the wave’s new crest.  This is mainly because 90% of the advertisers simply plunk the code in an ad without explaination, and assume readers know it is more than a squashed bug.  And, those who do pull out their iPhone to scrape it off the page find the place they are taken irrelevant.  I really like the concept… I just hope the 90% catches up with the 10% before they turn off the consumer.

I received a great email today from Tom Fishburne who, speaking of relevant, publishes the outstanding weekly Brand Camp cartoon.  This is just too good not to share with all of you… and don’t miss the video.

“Some marketers are calling 2011 “TheYear of the QR Code”, predicting that mobile tagging will become mainstream. Those little black and white tags are popping up everywhere: in billboards, magazine ads, and even tombstones.

QR (or quick response) codes carry the potential of connecting the offline world to the online world, giving a call to action to just about anything. And they use technology that is now in everyone’s pockets.

Yet, as with any new technology, QR codes are merely a means to an end for marketers. They are enablers to big ideas. They aren’t the big ideas themselves. Some brands are merely riding the novelty of QR codes, rather than doing anything interesting with them. Brands need to give a reason for consumers to go through the trouble of scanning a mobile tag and exploring whatever destination the brand has in mind.

I like how New York City’s Central Park created a rich experience with QR code tagging. The following video clip shows how they linked famous TV show and movie footage to the very spot where watchers are standing (“Walk the Mall with Carrie Bradshaw”).

Any call to action has to be meaningful to the consumers, not just to the brand. It may be easier than ever to give consumers an extended brand experience. But it’s also easier than ever for consumers to ignore you.”

The World Park Campaign is awesome and I will say that advertisers are getting down-right creative about where they are placing these codes.  I just posted 37 examples on McAuliffe & McCormick’s facebook page.

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