Posted on December 8th, 2013 by Timothy Boyle
I’m not often a McDonald’s customer, but seeing that I spend two to three weeks a month on the road for work I consume their products more than I would otherwise, particularly lately. So when I recently saw an advertisement for McDonalds that found its way into my house through a stack of junk mail I pulled out of my mailbox I didn’t automatically toss it in the trash. The advertisement seems to have accomplished its goal.
The McDonalds ad sat atop this stack of junk mail. Typically I would have thrown it away, and indeed I had just opened my kitchen trash can about to toss the junk pile when the ad struck my eye. It was a picture of an iPhone with a screen shot of free large sandwich coupon, and a QR code.
I read the call to action and it said I could get special deals sent directly to my phone if I downloaded their app. I figured I could use this to save a few Federal Reserve notes while I was on the road, so I scanned the code.
I was then taken to a great looking mobile optimized website with a button prompting me to download their app. I then proceeded to do so. Clearly their QR code advertisement worked.
This is one of those rare cases I have found where a company’s marketing team actually used a QR code perfectly. Everything about it was perfect, and it got me to do exactly what they intended for me to do.
Now when I am on the road I will more than likely be purchasing more McDonalds, thus benefiting McDonalds financially. At the same time I will spend less on nourishing myself. A win-win.
If it weren’t for the QR code, the call to action, and the easy to use mobile site they would likely have missed out on many of my future purchases. This is exactly how QR codes are supposed to be used, and this example points out one of the many ways QR codes can help you keep and/or increase sales if used properly.
Start using QR codes in this way if you aren’t already, just make sure that along with your QR code you have a great call to action, a mobile optimized website/landing page, and you are offering them something that they will actually want (like an app that gives them special deals for tasty Hamburgers). Do this and you are sure to see an increase in sales, app downloads, or whatever it is you are trying to accomplish with your advertisements.
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Posted on December 4th, 2013 by Timothy Boyle
Take College Game Day, Bitcoin, and a QR code, put them together and what do you get? $24,000 in the wallet of a poor college student. Wish I had thought of this.
This is a perfect example of the possibilities of a QR code and the practical benefits.
For those who don’t watch college football, College Gameday is a live ESPN broadcast from a college campus where typically one of the biggest college football games will be played on that given Saturday. This typically draws huge fan support, and as with every Gameday, most of these student fans bring signs to show off to the camera and the television viewers.
Well one smart student brought a sign that read simply “Hi Mom Send” with a large QR code and Large Bitcoin photo underneath it. To anyone familiar with QR codes they would understand that the student was indicating that they could donate Bitcoins by scanning the QR code (Bitcoins, for those that are unfamiliar, are a private form of e-currency).
To the amazement of many, likely including the student with the sign, the student received 22 Bitcoins from over 100 people (1 Bitcoin = ~$1,100 FRN’s currently). Totaling ~$24,000. Probably more than this student has made in all his summer jobs put together. A successful College Gameday for one fan, no matter the outcome of the football game.
This highlights, in a fantastic way, just how powerful a QR code can be. At least 100 people, who also used Botcoins, saw the code, scanned it, and voluntarily donated to this student and received nothing in return. If you are a company selling something, anything, think of the number of transactions you could see just by using a well placed QR code in your advertising campaign. I suspect more people would prefer to receive something in return for their Bitcoins, or even more likely for fear of losing value, their Federal Reserve Notes.
If you aren’t using QR codes on your physical advertising, you are missing out. This student is a great example of how.
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Posted on December 2nd, 2013 by Timothy Boyle
A friend was at the Jordan’s Furniture in Avon, MA this past weekend and saw numerous poster advertisements for a charity called MARE (Massachusetts Adoption Resource Exchange, Inc.) which helps to find families for children in foster care.
The posters grabbed his eye and he noticed that they had a QR code on each poster under each child; this piqued his interest so he scanned the QR code.
The code took him to MARE’s desktop website. Not ideal. In this sense it isn’t necessarily a great QR code to highlight, but it’s not about how the QR code was used here, instead I want to point out how the QR code could have been used to really improve the advertisement and help generate even more interest for this great cause.
The posters highlighted different children looking for parents and a QR code was included on each child’s poster. But instead of the QR code directing the viewer to the MARE desktop site, a better possibility would have been directing the viewer to a mobile optimized site with a video of the child, or a biography and pictures. This could be done for each child to really personalize the advertisement and help prospective parents get to know the child right then. Perhaps seeing the child interviewed, or hearing about their back-ground might make a potential parent act sooner rather than later, or not at all.
Obviously this isn’t to pick on the MARE advertisements; I just thought it a good example of how QR codes have a lot of potential that often isn’t being tapped. QR codes are a great way to connect offline media with online media, but it works best when that online media has interesting and engaging content, thus making it worthwhile to connect in the first place.
When undertaking a QR code campaign like the one suggested above—that is a campaign needing numerous QR codes and mobile sites—a platform like Qfuse is going to ensure you can create these QR codes and mobile sites quickly and easily, while allowing you to make changes whenever needed, and all for a minimal cost to you.
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Posted on November 26th, 2013 by Timothy Boyle
I stumbled upon a poster for a new TV show titled Sovereign Living put on by sovereignliving.tv, a small upstart TV channel just trying to get their feet off the ground. The show appeals to a small niche in the market, mostly some of the more unknown breeds of libertarians, though unknown only to those not in such circles. The show follows a young family as they begin to live a “natural” life of self sufficiency, community, and volunteership as a way to fight back against the system, as opposed to fighting back politically as they have in the past.
What I noticed right away from their poster, and perhaps not surprisingly since it is a libertarian channel, is the three large QR codes that are the focus of the poster. Clearly the creator has a goal with this poster, and scanning the QR codes is that goal.
Since this is a new channel, and they apparently only had the resources to make episodes 1-3, they are now looking to raise new monies in order to support the channel and to complete episodes 4-6, in addition to marketing and administrative costs.
In order to help drive these donations they made the focus of their poster a way to easily allow people to give. They did this through using the QR codes.
There are three QR codes on the poster, one of which directs the consumer to the first episode of the reality show, letting newcomers to the show see what it is all about, and hopefully gaining their interest. This alone is a great way to use the QR code. It provides the consumer with the product at the moment they see the poster, when their interest will likely be highest.
The other two codes on the poster let you donate to the cause. The reason for two QR codes is that they take traditional donations using FRN’s (Federal Reserve Notes), as well as the more modern type of donation using Bitcoins (of course a libertarian channel would take Bitcoins, how could they not?). This also lets people make donations at the moment their interest is highest.
Each QR code is labeled with the site you are directed to, and below the codes is a paragraph explaining what your donation will be going to support. A great way to drive donations.
For anyone using posters or any other print advertising, you should learn from this. Including a QR code on said material and connecting it to relevant information and/or connecting to a portal to make purchases or donations or whatever, is going to drastically increase the productivity of your physical advertising. But ONLY if it is done right and the connected media is appropriate for what the consumer might want or is looking for at that moment they see your advertisement.
If a low budget TV channel like sovereignliving.TV can be ahead of the curve and use QR code (properly) than there is no excuse for any other company or group out there today. Just make sure you are using a platform that will help to ensure you are doing everything correctly.
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Posted on November 21st, 2013 by Timothy Boyle
I was at my office today when I noticed the new water bubbler that has been installed in our kitchen. The water bubbler was from One Source Water, it looked very sleek in all black mirror like material, and the water came out smooth and fast, a beautiful machine for sure. Then I noticed what stuck on this sexy black outer shell was a sticker with the contact info for the company and next to the contact info a QR code. Obviously I was intrigued—clearly not because of the non-existent call to action— and had to scan the code. Not shockingly the code made it to the Qfuse blog about how NOT to use QR codes.
Obviously the first problem here is the lack of a call to action. Who would possibly desire to scan this code on a water bubbler with no explanation as to what benefit they would receive? No one, of course. The only reason I scanned the code is because I write about QR code on this blog. My guess is I was one of only a handful of people to ever scan the code, the others likely being some other nerds who work for a similarly tech-related company and also have the One Source Water bubbler in their office. There is a 100% chance they were as disappointed as I once they scanned the code.
The next issue I have with the code, and the biggest issue, is that when you scan the code you end up at an error page. Seriously? Why bother using a QR code if you aren’t going to connect it to anything? This sort of thing is infuriating. It gives QR codes a bad name and helps convince the people that do scan your code to never scan another code after this. As terrible as it is, at least have it connect back to your company website. Anything is better than an error page.
Lastly, and unfortunately the most common problem I see with QR codes, is that they direct the user to a desktop website rather than a mobile optimized site. You know the person has to be on their mobile device if they are scanning the code, so why would you make them go to a non-mobile website? Are you trying to ensure them a miserable experience? Because it sure seems that way.
This is example by One Source Water is a perfect illustration of how not to use QR codes and how they really can be just a huge waste, and in the meantime hurting QR codes for everyone else. In this case the QR code provides no value, it is poorly done, and not even really functional. Either it should never have been used or it should have been used with a clear purpose in mind. Sticking useless QR codes on everything only ruins QR codes for the people who use them correctly.
For anyone out there considering using QR codes for whatever purpose they deem appropriate, please do not do what One Source Water did here, make sure your code serves an end for yourself and/or your consumer, make sure it functions as it should, and make sure people know what the reason for its existence is. Do these things and your QR code campaign is sure to do well. Otherwise I’ll be the only one scanning your code and it’s a good chance you end up being written about on this blog.
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