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QR code madness

QR codes can be useful, fun and can be a compelling way to attract and retain customers…if you use them right. There are some great QR campaigns that work well, at best, bridging the online and offline worlds and enriching companies lead-gen efforts.


However many marketers are making small mistakes that make an immense impact on their strategy—or lack thereof. Here are some examples of QR codes used in weirdly ineffective ways and some are either impossible, difficult or even dangerous to scan…

For a more effective QR campaign, here are a few simple rules to follow:

  • The code should be easy to scan. I.e. somewhere where people can reach, and have the time and an internet connection. QR codes on billboards is far from optimal.
  • It should give people a reason to scan it. Curiosity is not enough. Let people know what they can expect when they scan, or even offer a reward. Treat the code not as a passive entry to your site but as a call to action that might entice a prospect to sign up or otherwise get more involved with your content, your offers or your company.
  • It should link to a mobile friendly site. People are scanning QR codes on mobile, so they need to view the web page, video or voucher on mobile. Sounds simple enough, but it’s a common mistake.

On a side note, did you know that QR codes were originally developed by Toyota subsidiary Denso-Wave in 1994 to track automobile parts? You do now.

The following examples fail at the first hurdle…


Please don’t try this one.Moving Bus


This may have worked on the outside…Bottle


Would you scan it while it passes you or as you are getting on?Bus


I guess this would work for giants…Giants


Seriously? Madness.Billboard


Is this really the best time to be pulling out your smartphone? Toilet


Waste of space. Not only is this dangerous to scan, but it doesn’t really give you any reason to.Truck


Now this could be tricky…Airplane -towing -qr -code -blog -full

When done right, QR codes can be a valuable tool for lead generation, and interaction with customers, however inneffective use will render it overkill or useless without a specific purpose or intent in mind.