I've been a fan of QR Codes (2D Bar codes) for some time, looking at them first to see if I could utilise the technology to issue unique WAP links for various products. I could (and may still) and the technology is excellent in that respect, but the real problem was with their adoption, which was, well, lacklustre and fragmented. The technology allows you to capture a 2D code image with a mobile phone camera which is subsequently converted to one of a few (pre) chosen options.
The QR code could be pre coded to be a URL for the phone's browser; it could be text, an SMS or personal details.
Taking a snap of a QR code on a business card automatically transfers the all the 'contact' details to the phones phonebook, saving the recipient having to key it in. This particular application is big news in the Orient where at one point every self-respecting business person had a 2D code on the underside of his or her business card. But they also began to feature heavily in advertising too. Some very quick practical mobile marketing uses: The picture here was for the release of "28 Weeks Later" - all the way back in Sep '07.
The poster was above the entrance to Covent Garden Tube and made quite a stir when it was first introduced, but like many good ideas in that sphere, it simply faded back to gray after a few weeks. Information: An area that I think could be fantastic here especially in tourism. For example, the BBC had a programme called Coast and a sister project called the "Coast Mobile Experience".
If people physically relived the Coast Experience, as they were encouraged to do in the programme, at points along any of the 20 or so routes were places where you could access 2D codes.
Utilising theses codes they got links to audio about the route, images and maps of their route. What about 2D codes at strategic points throughout public buildings all linking to the buildings microsite? Once there you could pick your language allowing you to have all the FAQ's to be answered - that would cut down on admin. 2D code for downloads: The Petshop Boys (God help us all!) used 2D codes so that fans could download a video clip of one of their newly released tracks.
Kerrang, the music magazine, used it throughout one of their editions so that readers could sample tracks by featured artists.
Even The Sun had a try promoting their website in print. Naturally their QR codes in print were captured in the clutches of scantily clad ladies! Advertising: Huge strides here where print ads come replete with 2D codes for and instant response.
It's a great application for on pack promotions or getting further product details. McDonalds used them and when the code was scanned it takes customers to a site with allergy and calorie information about the range of products.
This one for Vespa would send the person a link where they could get retrieve ringtones and wallpapers.It's obvious that there is huge potential for this application to drive mobile marketing and make connectivity so much easier.
The real problem here is reminiscent of the VHS vs. PAL standoff, where there was only room for one technology source to survive. The same bun fight seems to beafoot here. There are QR-Codes, Datamatrix Codes, Microsoft Tags, Bee Tags etc. Similarly, there are different readers and some are only compatible with particular phones - so once again yet another fragmentation issue. Opting for a 'catch all' reader (even with potentially weaker features) would be the strategy here. There's no point in having an on pack promotion with the caveat that only iPhone and Blackberry users can enter! When they came out first there were huge restrictions on what you could and could not do with the codes. Now that readers that are better able to interpret the presented images, the creativity is really getting started on the codes as you can see in this QR illustration for Louis Vuitton.
They went to a lot of trouble for this campaign having created this character and a whole set of animated clips to go with it. The QR code here links nicely to the Louis Vuitton Japanese site - bar the fact that the site is not mobile ready. The last mile..eh?