Some people say that QR codes are boring, and they aren’t leading anywhere. This is not a statistical explanation why I disagree, but purely for entertainment. I’ve compiled a list of my top 10 favorite uses of QR codes. Some are funny or controversial, some have great branding, and some I just downright love. Please feel free to comment on these, or share your own favorite uses of QR codes.
1. The World Park Campaign at Central Park in New York – This is also one of the first (and best) uses of QR codes I saw. I’m a fan for several reasons: I’m a nerd and love trivia; they integrated technology to reach their target audience (younger park visitors); who doesn’t love interactive outdoor museums? It was the largest QR code event.
2. Korean grocery store Homeplus (formerly Tesco) uses QR codes for mobile grocery shopping – This was one of the first examples of using QR codes for practical purposes that I saw. Anybody who has lived in a major city knows the hassle of grocery shopping and the boredom that can come while waiting in a subway station. Tesco took their advertising, brand strategy and consumer knowledge to the next level with this one.
3. Radisson Edwardian Hotels use QR codes for menu items – “Knowing how a dish looks at the point of ordering can be very influential.” I cannot agree more with the E-commerce Manager Amy Clarke. Seeing pictures on a menu sell me on a dish, let alone a QR code that will take me to a video telling me ingredients and how it’s prepared by the chef. I’m hungry just thinking about it.
4. Edible QR Codes – Demo Slam’s contest of making edible QR codes that could be recognized by Google Goggles. I just like this one.
5. Beach volleyball duo puts sponsors QR codes on bikinis – Attention getting, entertaining and controversial. Betfair, an online gambling exchange based in the United Kingdom, made a sponsorship deal with Zara Dampney and Shauna Mullin to place QR codes on their bums during a tournament in August 2011. It made waves, but I don’t think they really care. They’re heading to play as the host team at the Horse Guards Parade in the London 2012 Olympics (sans the codes due to Olympic regulations).
6. Victor Petit’s Resume – A QR code on your resume leading to a site about you is okay, but a code that leads to a video of you giving your elevator speech, that will get attention. Victor Petit did just that when trying to find an internship in communications. I bet it worked.
7. San Antonio’s guided River Walk tour – Last year San Antonio stationed 12 QR codes along the beautiful Hugman River. Similar to my favorite World Park campaign, this is a huge asset to the travel and tourism industry. You don’t need to worry about getting around a foreign city if the map you pick up has a code for a landmark and by scanning it you get directions and a description in your language. Other cities that have guided QR tours include New York and Long Beach, Wa.
8. Hobo QR Codes – A bit impractical, but a great way to voice consumer opinions. Golan Levin created software that allows you to create stencils and then mark where appropriate. You can create codes that when scanned contain images and text. What a considerate way to tell the tech savvy driver not to park here.
9. Macy’s Backstage Pass (photo) – Located in malls and stores across America, Macy’s Backstage Pass campaign in 2011 featured many of their spokespeople, from Martha Stewart to Puff Daddy (or Sean Combs, or whatever name he’s going by now) to Bobbi Brown. When scanned, they gave tips to shoppers, who were also eligible to win a shopping spree. I also like this campaign because the QR code itself is within the logo they rebranded with about six years ago when they launched their stars lines.
10. Every Bud Tells a Story by Budweiser – Several breweries and distributors picked up on QR codes within the past year. My particular favorite was Budweiser. Not only did it tell you the born on date of your beer, but taught you about the process, ingredients, and who made your beer, literally.
So tell me, what’s your favorite use of a QR code? What’s your least favorite? What’s the most unique one you’ve seen?