QR Code 101

Scan this beauty to go to the American Red Cross of Greater Chicago’s Holiday Giving page.

If you haven’t seen a QR Code (or quick-response code) around the city or in a newspaper, you may not be aware of how these scans work. Basically, the QR code acts as a direct source to some content that lives online. To be able to scan the code, you need to download an app on your phone (ex: Barcode Scanner for Android, QuickMark for iPhone). When you have the application on your phone, you can easily align the QR code within the set parameters, hold the frame until it clicks, and the URL that the QR code directs to will appear on your mobile screen.

The QR code is not new marketing. It’s been used in other countries, namely Japan, for years but for some reason it is just hitting the US and creating quite the buzz. Right now, a lot of people and companies are beginning to blindly test the waters with the QR code. Creating one is not a problem, it is as simple as going to http://qrcode.kaywa.com/ or the like and telling the script what URL/picture/number to direct to. Auto generated sites like this one provide a small amount of analytics for those interested in tracking metrics. However, the depth of these metrics is far from impactful when looking for a targeted audience.

Commercial: QR codes for commercial use are fascinating to me. It is very interesting to analyze how certain companies and PR firms have utilized the commercial QR code to promote a product or service. I feel that the following two examples give a general idea of how to correctly use a commercial QR code and how to make the code ineffective.

Magazines: A great way to use QR codes is to use them to direct to a website in fashion magazines or any sort of gift guide. The idea is that since the items promoted do not all come from the same store, a simple QR code can provide instant gratification to the reader/buyer by directing them to the item on the website with a few clicks. This can lead to direct buys. We are the generation of instant gratification, are we not?

Boardwalk Empire: Admittedly an awesome attempt at marketing the new show, the QR code itself is difficult to establish for what it is. Marketers need to realize that while the QR code is a great tool to utilize, it does not have wide recognition in the public’s eye yet. Throwing it on the main poster of Boardwalk Empire might have worked if the code was not positioned as a diamond and so deeply integrated into the design. At least there is instruction on using to code, with a “scan for an exclusive trailer”. The QR code should eventually work with no instruction when it becomes habit to just scan and load content, but for now, the code needs some direction.

I love the idea of using a QR code for movie and TV trailers. It is so easy to scan and immediately pull up a video clip. Additionally, I think integrating Google maps into a QR code is a great idea for quick directions.

What is the best example of a QR code that you have seen?


About LSnyder

I am a Freshman at DePaul University majoring in PR & Advertising. I'm obsessed with the following: the Holidays especially Christmas, food and its glorious temptations, New York City, the Pittsburgh Steelers, and a good book. I'm a writer, a photographer, an artist, and, most importantly, a creater.
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One Response to QR Code 101

  1. YouScan.me says:


    we believe that QR codes will make the connection between offline and online worlds easier. That’s why we created our QR code generator with social features YouScan.me – http://www.youscan.me. You can add all your info like Facebook profile or fan page, twitter, youtube, etc. and connect with others.


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