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About a year ago, Vertical Marketing Network blogged about what some industry insiders were touting as the Next Big Thing. While they may not be as ubiquitous as Facebook fan pages and Twitter feeds, there’s no denying that QR codes are popping up with more regularity, on packaging and in publications, on billboards and even the sides of taxi cabs. Short for Quick Response code, QR codes are 2-D bar codes that can be scanned using a smartphone camera to then transmit information, and they (along with 3-D technologies such as WiMO) are helping brands in the auto (Ford, Chevy), beauty and fashion (Calvin Klein) and entertainment (CBS, HBO) industries engage consumers and redirect them to company websites, product and promotional content, and special features. Toys ‘R’ Us is using them on in-store product signage, where they’ll likely attract young consumers with their video game-like graphic. Meanwhile, Quaker Oats has gone QR in a different vain, placing them on in-store signage and product packaging to encourage parents – not kids – to scan them to then send young fans personalized messages from teen heartthrob Nick Jonas. And in perhaps the boldest indicator of the potential for QR codes, a supermarket recently set up a “virtual grocery” in a South Korean subway stop, in which consumers could “shop” with a quick point and scan; then, after checkout, the virtual goods were made real and delivered to the homes of surely happy shoppers.
Maybe I’m just blogging out loud, but it seems like now more than ever it’s hip to be square. QR codes are effective and forward-thinking, not to mention fashionable and fun. As technologies continue to develop, so too will opportunities to implement them.
Which prompts the question: Do you think this hype is justified? What interesting campaigns have caught your marketing eye and caused you to go QR?
Please share you thoughts.