Are QR Codes Making a Comeback in 2016?

Back in 2012, Matthew Kearney wrote about eight unique QR Code campaigns. Since then, QR codes (or Quick Response codes) have gone a little quiet on the guerrilla marketing scene, and perhaps may be seen as gimmicky, or simply overused. Only a few years ago, QR codes were seemingly all over our shop windows, food packaging and magazines. Coupled with an increase in mobile device usage to browse the internet, and the rise in responsive websites, QR codes seemed to be the newest, hippest, way of advertising. Nowadays, their popularity seems to be dying down. However, the recent rise in QR codes making an appearance in popular street art suggests that this guerrilla marketing tool will be hitting the streets once again.

On the Streets

One of the world’s most renowned street artists, Banksy, recently made a political piece of art in response to the refugee crisis. On the French embassy in London, Banksy has placed a stencil of a young girl from the film and musical Les Misérables, surrounded by tear gas with tears in her eyes. Below it is a QR code, which links to an online video of a police raid on refugee camps in Calais. This political piece of street art has caused quite a stir, as is expected for an artwork made by this prolific UK street artist. This artwork is the latest in a series of recent pieces by Banksy, but it is the first time the notorious artist has ever used interactive QR codes.

Banksy is not the first street artist to experiment with QR codes in his work. Berlin-based graffiti artist Sweza, has put up posters of boomboxes across many cities, which includes a QR code on the part of the boombox where a cassette goes – a code that music when scanned. This is just one of many ways of being creative with QR codes.

QR codes may not have taken off in the way that was predicted, but there is still room for experimentation, and they are certainly not an extinct form of guerrilla marketing. If you feel like dabbling in the creative world of QR codes in your guerrilla marketing campaign, be bold and try something different; rather than just sticking a QR code on a package, think about imaginative ways to use the interactive element of QR codes to create an innovative piece of marketing. Another thing to remember when using QR codes is to make sure your server can take unlimited traffic, like the dynamic cloud server options offered by companies like this, for example. Because if you make your website accessible via QR codes in public spaces, you will certainly see a rise in web traffic, especially if you use QR codes in a new, exciting way.


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