Queue Are Code

I’m not going to start this blog with something like: ‘You must have been hanging out in a cave for years if you haven’t heard of QR code’. Sarcasm is no way to start a polite blog post. I’m not going to say: ‘The ubiquitous prevalence of QR code signals a paradigm shift’ or some such linguisticarrogant (my word and I’m keeping it) drivel. What is true, however, is that those little boxes of black and white bitmaps that look like they were copied off the walls of Mayan ziggurats are everywhere.

From Vehicle Manufacturing To High Art

QR Codes or 2D Codes (or even Square Codes to the really nerdy amongst us) have been around since their initial use in Japan for tracking vehicle parts during the manufacturing and shipping process. In 2007, Italian artist Fabrice de Nola used them in his oil paintings and photographs, and soon the Pet Shop Boys and DJ Spooky were using them to connect audiophiles to websites ranging from music single downloads to information on Nauru, a South Pacific island. Since then, countless artists and institutions of all sorts have dabbled in QR code. Billboards, t-shirts, magazines, guerrilla marketing and business cards have all been done.

The Singularity

The real jewels, however, are those campaigns that manage to tie together different social media platforms to create a truly integrated experience. One such company is the Brazilian alternative to Amazon, called Editoras Online. They pasted QR code stickers all over a city, which took users to a website that drew live content from tweets with the word ‘Love’ or ‘Hate’. 200 sentences were selected each week to be published in a hardcopy book, which was sold on the Editoras website. An art, marketing and guerrilla interactive campaign, all rolled into one.

Tying It All Together

QR code is here to stay, as its quadrupled usage over the last year has shown. The challenge is not on whether to use QR as part of your campaign or not, but rather how you can tie QR into the existing social media channels, and then finally connect with a product or event in the physical world. Stickers leading to websites with locations and coupon or other rewards… a digital treasure hunt that rewards players (‘consumers’ and ‘users’ are just wrong) with real-world value: now we’re talking.

Create your own QR code.

Some great ideas on QR marketing.

And for those who like their commandments with a little less fire and brimstone.