12 Examples of QR Code Disasters

12 Examples of QR Code Disasters

Sometimes the best way to learn and improve is to analyze your mistakes. So to help you learn how best to utilize and implement QR codes, we can take a look at some REALLY bad examples of how people have used them in the past. Hopefully you can learn from these peoples mistakes!

1) The Unscannable Code

What is this…a QR code for ants? Be sure to make it large enough to actually be scanned! This is a great example of someone who didn’t do proper testing.

**EDIT: The above code is a DataMatrix code. Thanks for the catch readers!

2) QR Code, Wrong Place

Probably very doubtful that a newly-wed will find a dj for their wedding by scanning a random QR code poster stuck on the side of what appears to be a metro line.

3) The Endless Loop

Using QR codes on a website can have its benefits. This is a perfect example of the exact opposite. Unless you want to grab your friend’s smartphone to scan the QR code displayed on your phone, this isn’t going to work. Not to mention that the QR code offers nothing but the exact same page.

4) No Reason To Scan

An advertisement that isn’t very intriguing. Perhaps posing question would’ve been more effective.

5) Scan Chest for Escorts

Sure, let me stand in front of you and scan your shirt. A little ironic that the last bullet says, ‘discreet’. Pretty sure stopping in the middle of the sidewalk to scan his shirt is anything but discreet.

6) More QR Codes!

Just in case you miss one, you’ll have two more to aim at.

7) Bend over and scan my QR Code

Dear marketers, please be aware of where your ad will be placed. I’m pretty sure no one wants to bend over and scan this code.

8) Toilet QR Code

How on Earth will you ever scan this QR code? Not only do you need to open up the toilet, but also it’s at a very strange angle.  Very poorly placed.

9) Scan QR Code, Get Into Accident

People love putting QR codes on the back of cars in hopes that someone will scan it. Other than the occasional car passenger and person walking by, this is a terrible location for QR codes. If being on the phone texting is considered dangerous, one could only imagine someone trying to get close enough to the vehicle to hold their phone and scan a code. The only code that belongs at the back of a car is a QR code that dials an ambulance..because that’s where you’ll probably end up. Not safe!

10) Spinning QR Code

Hold still! I’m trying to scan you! Stop making it so hard.

11) Smaller Screen Please!

Just in case you wanted to view the site on a smaller screen.

12) Subway QR Codes

Awesome! Now if the poster wasn’t 300 feet underground and I could get a phone signal. Looks like whoever thought of this poster should consider finding a new job.

Have you seen any other memorable QR codes that made you cringe? Let us know!

See more great examples at http://wtfqrcodes.com/

Ryan Lum is the founder and editor of Creative Guerrilla Marketing. He is passionate about creative marketing, social media and design. Connect with him on LinkedIn,Twitter or Google+


  1. Got some comments on your examples:

    1) this isn’t a QR code, it’s a DataMatrix code – it’s not meant to be readable by consumers
    7) th emost common problem – no call to action
    12) the better clients would store the code for use later when on network – this one has another problem – the density is such that many clients wouldn’t read it (a common problem for direct codes and a reason for using managed ones)

  2. Great input Dave! Thanks for sharing.

  3. I would assume the toilet one was used for inventory purposes and not advertising. I doubt the manufacturer expect you to scan that one.

  4.  or more likely instructions how to fix or smth like that

  5. #1 is not a QR code, but a product code. Get your fact’s right ;)

  6. Although there are a lot of really smart ad campaigns out there…It never ceases to amaze me how stupid some can be. Great article!

  7. Here in Russia it is hard to find any qr code, good or bad. But one of those I found was a piece of art. It combined lots of mistakes: Situated in the subway, almost at the ceiling of the wagon, 1×1 cm qr code and the ad is aimed at an audience which hardly has a single smartphone user (some goods for elder people)

  8. With the Rogerthat® QR code and Rogerthat® Messenger you can change a Lead into a satisfied Customer. In every language available. More on: http://www.rogerthatmessenger.nl

  9. #1 is an example of a qr code that is too small. The qr code is to the left of the product code and smaller.

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