QR (Quick Response) Codes have been around for almost 20 years. They were first invented in Japan back in 1994 by Denso Wave â€“ the parent company behind Toyota â€“ for use in car manufacturing plants in order to help them manage inventory.
In the past few years QR codes have seen a dramatic rise in popularity, and now youâ€™ll find QR codes in use all over the place. In printed ads, on business cards, in place of tickets (at airports, railroads etc), printed on product packaging, on banners and other advertisements, the list goes on and on.
The best QR code uses and campaigns are those which offer real benefit, or do a good job of enticing people to want to take out their smartphone and spend a moment to scan the QR code and see what itâ€™s offering. Over the past year Iâ€™ve seen some amazing examples of creative QR code usage, and here are a few of what I think are the best & most creative QR codes that were used in marketing throughout 2012.
An All New Type of â€˜Window Shoppingâ€™
We all know window shopping as something much different to what the name suggests, but, now, thanks to a number of stores, you can actually purchase products through a window. Walmart opened their first virtual toy store over the Christmas period in 2012, the window displayed a few childrenâ€™s toyâ€™s printed onto a huge display. Each toy had a QR code beneath it, and when the QR code was scanned, you would be taken to that products page on the Walmart website where you could get more information and purchase the product if you wanted too!
This is a great way for the stores to catch extra sales, and a very cost effective way too â€“ as they donâ€™t need to pay staff to be in the store, they donâ€™t need to pay people to man tills and checkouts etc.
Victoriaâ€™s Secret â€œSexier than Skinâ€ Campaign
This is one the best QR Code adverts that I have seen. Iâ€™m sure it got many thousands of scans during itâ€™s time in print. With this campaign Victoriaâ€™s Secret have done a great job of enticing people to want to scan the QR code and â€œReveal Lilyâ€™s Secretâ€, to get the full picture.
Once someone does scan the QR code, they are presented with the full picture, and they are then able to go on and purchase the underwear or browse other products in the line if they want to.
Victoriaâ€™s Secret done a few of these ads, here are a couple of the ads they run at the same time:
Googleâ€™s â€œFavorite Places on Googleâ€ QR Campaign
Google Maps carried out some research and identified over 100,000 businesses in the United States as â€œFavorite Placesâ€ on Google based on Google userâ€™s interactions with those local businesses listings. They then sent these 100,000 or so businesses a free window decal with a unique QR code, which when scanned by a passer-by would display more information held by Google about that business; things like user reviews and ratings, the ability to star the item on your own Google account for your own records, and muchÂ more. Itâ€™s a great way to get people walking past your store to check it out without even having to come in, they can scan the code and get an initial impression on your business based on what other people have to say about it.
These are just a few of the creative ways in which QR codes have been put to work. There are loads more, Iâ€™ve seen QR codes in museums and art galleries; displayed next to certain pieces, and when scanned, take you to a page filled with further information about that piece. Iâ€™ve seen them used on wine bottles in restaurants, so you can easily make a note of any wines you like by simply scanning the bottle, Iâ€™ve seen them used on product packaging to make it easier for anyone looking for more information about that product.
Theyâ€™re a great invention, and theyâ€™re being put to some really awesome uses. I look forward to seeing some more of the creative ideas people come up for with QR codes during 2013.
Author Bio: The author of this article has worked in design and marketing for over 10 years. He recommends that you use www.visualead.com for all of your QR needs.