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How NOT to Use QR Codes: Part 1

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in_flight_mag_qr-blog-fullThis is the first installment of an ongoing look at how NOT to use QR codes.  As I stumble upon poor uses I will be sure to post a blog so we can all laugh at them and learn from them.

Entry #1: Henry Gill

If you look at the ad (Right), you might think “well that’s kind of a cool creative way to run a QR code ad,” and you wouldn’t necessarily be wrong.  The good thing is that the code stands out, it is the focus of the entire ad, and it is done in a creative way.  Two problems though.  First, and of less importance, is that only people already familiar with QR codes are going to know this is a QR code and that they can scan it, so a clarification or particularly a call to action is necessary to get the full benefit of using a QR code.  Second and most importantly, this advertisement is in an in-flight magazine.  Pause and think about that for a second… I’ll wait…  Doesn’t do you much good to have a QR code if your customer doesn’t have access to the internet, right?

Make Sure Internet Access is Available

It is vitally important that when you are planning on using a QR code in your advertisement or marketing materials you think about where the person will be when they are likely to scan the code.  If you know the ad is going to be in an in-flight magazine you do not use a QR code, because unless a person takes the magazine with them, or is looking at the magazine in the few minutes before take-off, they won’t be able to scan the code.  If your code is going to be in the subway, for another example, you will want to know if there is wi-fi or cellular reception there or not and so on for all marketing or advertising campaigns that plan on using QR codes.

Entice People to Scan Your QR Code

Towards the first mistake made in this ad, you must use a call-to-action.  Most people are not going to scan a code (assuming they know that is what they are supposed to do) if they are unsure what the benefit is.  So you must make sure there is a good reason to scan the QR code and make sure anyone reading the ad or marketing materials will be aware of this reason.  Entice them to scan it, don’t just place it in a sea of white and expect someone to waste precious seconds of their life scanning your potentially useless code.  People have celebrities to follow and can’t spend their whole life risking seconds of their time finding out if your QR code is worth their time to scan.

For most information on QR code best practices go here and be sure to check out Part 2 of How NOT to Use QR Codes.  And please, think before you code.