Creative Marketers Find New Uses For QR Code


At first glance, a QR code looks like some sort of abstract art.

The black and white squiggly lines don’t look like the next big thing in marketing and advertising.

But suddenly the symbols seem to be everywhere in the Triangle – in store windows, on printed advertisements, business cards and Realtors’ signs outside homes for sale.

They’re easy to overlook for those who don’t know what they are. But those in the know are using and exploring this next generation of bar codes.

Short for “quick response codes,” QR codes are meant to be scanned with a smart-phone camera rather than at a cash register. The squiggles connect your phone immediately to additional information about the business – a website, a video or an interactive map, for instance.

Scan the code on a movie poster, and it may take you to the movie trailer. Scan a code at the Gap, and you’re taken to a website about Gap jeans.

For the record: QR codes are not new. They date to the 1990s, but with the proliferation of smart phones, the use of QR codes has exploded.

As awareness spreads, businesses and marketers are racing to figure out how to use the codes to attract shoppers.

“We’re getting all the right things happening in the market right now,” said Mike Wehrs, president of Scanbuy, a N.Y. company that is one of the leading companies in QR code development and management. “It’s growing very rapidly. … It’s not something where you’d say people don’t know what’s going on. But it’s not 100 percent out there yet either.”

Scanbuy’s data shows that QR code generation and usage has increased by 700 percent since January, with the number of scans in the United States increasing from 1,000 to 1,500 a day to 35,000 to 40,000 a day.

Possibilities grow

Many users are just experimenting as they become aware of the codes and what they do.

Andretti Brown is a graphic designer from Raleigh and has just started dabbling in QR codes. He said he noticed them awhile ago but didn’t know what they were. Then he started researching them.

“I call myself a nerd, and I just kind of noticed,” said Brown, 33. “I just kind of wanted to be ahead of the curve. … A lot of my friends are confused about what it is. It’s so young that people don’t really understand what to do with it. But once it starts getting pushed more, then I think it’s going to be a lot better.”

That kind of interest has spurred Best Buy to invest heavily in increasing the availability of QR codes in its stores in time for Christmas shopping.

In May, the retailer ran a QR code in a weekly sales flier that linked to a promotional trailer for the new Super Mario Galaxy 2 video game. The company is now in the process of replacing all of the product tags in stores with tags that include a QR code.
Read more: http://www.newsobserver.com/2010/11/02/775142/creative-marketers-find-new-uses.html#ixzz14LAS2hMe

Read more: http://www.newsobserver.com/2010/11/02/775142/creative-marketers-find-new-uses.html#ixzz14LAMn58Z

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