A thousand ways to use QR codes

8 Feb

In a nutshell, apps on smart phones are able to read these black and white codes, allowing virtually any traditional form of marketing to easily become a launch pad for a multimedia experience. And it’s all trackable.

That makes the QR code a potent little trojan horse.

> A bottle of wine with a QR code can allow instant access to a video that explains the history of the wine, the winery and the journey of the grape.

> A business card with a QR code can link back to a website, a YouTube video or an about.me profile.

> Outdoor billboards can take you to contest web pages.

> Press ads can take you directly to online sources, where you can share the content on blogs, Twitter, Facebook etc. How’s that for pumping some lifeblood into newspapers.

The list goes on:

> Cinemas can use the codes on movie posters to link to reviews.

> Restaurants can post diners’ comments.

> Street signs can lead you to Google maps for the neighbourhood.

Amazing technology, far from fully exploited. What would you add to the list?

Need a free QR code reader app for your phone? Try this one:


16 Responses to “A thousand ways to use QR codes”

  1. Mario Parise February 8, 2011 at 2:24 pm #

    The only trouble, of course, is how many people actively use a QR code reader on their phones? How many people know how?

    It’s a shame really. Those examples you mentioned are fantastic. And as smart phones are becoming increasingly ubiquitous, it only makes sense that we should use tech like this to merge our real world experiences with our digital devices.

    I just don’t think QR adoption rates are all that high. (I’ve tried to find stats on this online, but can’t for the life of me find any.)

  2. dougbrowncreative February 8, 2011 at 2:28 pm #

    I know the use-rates aren’t high yet, which is why I chucked the free-app in at the end. It’s a lot easier than people imagine. And if Japan is anything to go by, it will catch on like gangbusters. It’s all about the thumbs these days. Cheers Mario.

  3. :]ack February 8, 2011 at 3:38 pm #

    Until two weeks ago, I used to be one of those people who steered away from smartphone technology. I was afraid that this smartphone would make me feel, well, not very smart. But Doug is right…these apps ARE a lot easier then people imagine. And now I’m an addict.

    That said, I feel we’re at a tipping point, and when that happens…grab your cell phones and run!

    btw – the most interesting app. I’ve downloaded to date is: http://www.google.com/mobile/goggles


  4. dougbrowncreative February 8, 2011 at 3:44 pm #

    QR code reading is particularly straightforward Jack, if not as much fun as http://itunes.apple.com/us/app/free-lie-detector-scan/id326882768
    I think it’s the tip of the iceberg rather than the tipping point, but that could be a Victoria/Calgary perspective. Thanks for the comment.

  5. Website Marketing Chicago February 9, 2011 at 1:41 am #

    How do you get QR codes? Thank you for this post!

  6. dougbrowncreative February 9, 2011 at 7:48 am #

    Try this QR code generator here, Chicago. http://qrcode.kaywa.com/ It’s DIY and straightforward.

  7. How could businesses NOT take advantage of this cool technology? Actually – for the same reason foursquare has not taken off in smaller places like Nanaimo – low user adoption rates.

    But WOW what potential. I think businesses would be wise to alert their customers to all these new social sharing tools out there. Why not let the vendor be the change agent?

    Great post Doug. I’ll keep my eye on this topic!


    – Don

  8. dougbrowncreative February 9, 2011 at 1:37 pm #

    Could be the topic for a tweetup in Nanaimo Don…getting everyone to load the readers on their smartphones and then creating their own personal codes. That will start the ball rolling on inching adoption rates up.

  9. Marc February 15, 2011 at 1:27 pm #

    In Japan it is often used on small package designs like those from McDonald’s to give nutrition info.
    And I like this outdoor campaign from Canada:
    And from the Netherlands for Greenpeace:

    More examples, in French, http://www.qrdresscode.com/

  10. dougbrowncreative February 15, 2011 at 2:40 pm #

    Thank you Marc. The Big Wild wild link provides a particularly good example of letting people know what the code is likely to lead to. Too many times the code just sits there like a vector lump. I appreciate those links.

  11. Marc February 18, 2011 at 2:40 pm #

    I found this great article:
    22 Ways Nonprofits Can Use QR Codes for Fundraising and Awareness Campaigns

  12. dougbrowncreative February 18, 2011 at 5:29 pm #

    That’s a great article Marc, thank you. I like what the author says: after you finish reading this you will see QR codes everywhere! Too true.

  13. chicago marketing company March 3, 2011 at 9:21 pm #

    This is definitely the way of the future. Having a QR code on a business card is a really advanced way to connect with your target marketing that is using smart phones. Great post!

  14. dougbrowncreative March 3, 2011 at 10:05 pm #

    Thank you Chicago. Appreciate that and agree. Hey cool website!


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