Demystifying Digital – the low-down on QR codes

integrated branding agency

Scan Me – I’m Worth It
“Invented in Japan by the Toyota subsidiary Denso Wave in 1994 to track vehicles during the manufacturing process, the QR (Quick Response) Code is one of the most popular types of two-dimensional barcodes. It was designed to allow its contents to be decoded at high speed.” Advertisers and others have been using the QR Code now for some time, but to what effect?

There truly are a million-and-one QR Code uses (some good, some bad), and in my opinion it is still one of the best methods of bridging the gap between analog and digital communication. Living up to it’s ‘Quick Response’ title the code let’s user’s instantly access further information. Advertisers and others have implemented QR Codes for uses such as:

– product/loyalty marketing
– commercial tracking
– entertainment and transport ticketing
– storing a company’s information
– storing personal information for use by government
– URL’s, VCards, SMS, Email, Google map, Tweet’s and more
– in Denmmark they are even marking graves with QR codes with the motto ‘everyone has a story’.

So why are people not using them?

I think it has everything to do with our handheld, super-connected, impatient audience; not willing to download a mobile app and open it up and scan a code. So why don’t companies like Apple and Google include it in there camera application that you can launch from your sleep screen?

It would definitely be a right step in making the code ubiquitous and help it gain world-wide adoption. Brendan Mulligan sums it well in this Tech Crunch article.

This post was writ­ten by Chris Ongarello, Man­ag­ing Direc­tor of Dig­i­tal White­board.
Dig­i­tal White­board was estab­lished to help busi­nesses and brands under­stand and lever­age the power of the dig­i­tal land­scape. Focus­ing on con­cept and strat­egy to deliver mea­sur­able (ROI). Dig­i­tal White­board achieve this by work­ing with enthu­si­as­tic peo­ple who share a com­mon goal to cre­ate amaz­ing inno­v­a­tive solu­tions to chal­lenges.

Like Truly Deeply, Dig­i­tal White­board are part of E3, the global net­work of inde­pen­dent brand­ing, mar­ket­ing and dig­i­tal agen­cies. As the offi­cial E3 agency for Liecht­en­stein, Dig­i­tal White­board has direct access to over 500 inter­na­tional spe­cial­ists. They get unique know-how and global insights from dif­fer­ent mar­kets, sec­tors and dis­ci­plines. Depend­ing on need they inte­grate E3 inter­na­tional spe­cial­ists into their projects.


  1. This is a completely pointless article and shows a lack in understanding of consumer behaviour and technology. QR codes are dead and have always been dead. They are glorified bar codes. Sterile, impersonal and mechanical. For that same reason people have little interest in engaging with.

  2. I admit to have taken the time to download a QR code scanner – including taking 10 minutes to research and select an ideal QR scanner – and gone around for a some six weeks scanning as many QR codes as possible. It was a little marketing experiment I wanted to test, especially after having seen them widely used in Japan.

    I was ready to go when I found the real frustration with QR codes: the sites/places/videos/landing pages I was taken to once I scanned the codes. I would say 1 out of 8 was worthwhile, easy to navigate, mobile friendly and quick. I would argue that QR codes could have a place in the marketing mix, but their implementation to this point has been woeful. Their death has come not because they don’t have value, but because business websites and understanding of how to use them effectively are lagging. Thus, as so many sluggish issues arise with the post scan marketing effort, which is another story in and of itself, consumers, the few who attempted to scan them, were turned off by them resulting in zero traction.

    Thus, while they could be effective, it does not appear they have any staying power in the marketing mix for the time being.

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