Don’t QR Codes Deserve a Second Look?

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Users continue to download QR scanning apps and statistics reveal figures that are higher than ever. But what does it mean for marketers today? Several major brands have put QR code marketing to good use. We examine the versatility of this technology, and gauge its potential for the years to come.

QR codes = Quick Response Codes

QR codes are 2D hyperlinks, linking smartphone owners to multi-platform, interactive online information, effectively bridging the physical and online worlds. They are now appearing on a host of marketing media, whether newspapers, magazines/journals, product packaging, OOH, brochures and other marketing copies.

YOU can leverage your marketing campaign with QR codes

Today, QR codes are receiving increasing interest from marketers because they offer varied opportunities for consumer engagement. QR codes offer user convenience, eco-friendliness, cost-effectiveness and flexibility. Besides this, given their relative nascence in India, they can still help brands differentiate themselves and offer measurable results.

QR codes may be used on:

  1. Packaging

Circus Elephants has already stepped into the QR code arena with its initiative for Danone Nutricia’s Farex. Given that federal law restricts baby food companies to advertise, packaging is considered a fail-safe way to communicate with mothers. So, the QR code on Danone’s packaging guides mothers to a web page which features a video on ‘How to prepare Farex baby feed’ in nine languages, besides tons of other communication. By enabling mothers to access a variety of detailed information on baby nutrition, Danone has essentially engaged mothers with their knowledge-sharing initiative, and gained returning customers.


 2. Business cards

Enables you to display more than just your name and designation. Business cards with QR codes extend your presence to the web and allow customers to be wowed by what you can do for them.

business card

 3. Postcards

Brings visibility to your online campaigns. Run special discounts for those who access the special landing page, and see the audience tricking in.


 4. POS collaterals

For the TG’s benefit, and yours. While customers remain updated of new arrivals and availability of merchandise they’re interest in, you can extend special discounts and offers that make purchase irresistible.


 5. Brochures

Give depth to your campaigns / web identity. Tease customers with crisp text on your brochures, and guide them online for more.


 6. OOH billboards

Sometimes a billboard just isn’t enough. Entice the audience with just enough to get their interest to the real campaign, which will run online – and can be controlled more effectively.

Victoria's Secret

 7. Direct mailers and newsletters

Whether the end result is awareness, promotions, or surveys, this is the perfect way to inform and educate the audience, while extending a route for feedback and more information to them.


 8. Print patrons at restaurants/pubs!

Enable patrons to ‘check-in’ to Facebook/Foursquare and have them talking about you on their social circuits. Extend discounts, promotions, downloads, recommendations, etc, and compel them to return for more.

Turquoise Cottage

Scanning the code can prompt a variety of commands, including:

  • Leading a user to a mobile website or landing page
  • Prompt them to dial/text a telephone number or download contact details (VCARD)
  • Save a date to Calendar

QR code options

  • Enable them to view a message or offer


  • For instructional videos or a printable instructions sheet

 inst video

  • View location via Google Maps or view a social media profile

 google maps

If you have a venue/location where the QR code will be displayed up on a poster, you may:

  • Enable the user to send a tweet or check in with Foursquare
  • Let the user sign up for an event
  • Enable the user to avail a flash discount coupon or other offers.


Are people still using QR codes?

Google Trends reports that interest in QR codes has remained high globally. Indian marketers too have joined this bandwagon. In fact, according to the Google Trends report on QR codes, India stands among the Top 10 countries using QR codes at No 9. But the proof of the pie, as they say, is in the eating. In India, where smartphone adoption is growing at incremental pace, the success of QR codes still remains to be tested. Arecent study by the Mobile Marketing Association and mLightenment suggests that global spending on mobile recognition, of which QR codes are a primary component, will continue to grow strongly, reaching $364 million in spending by 2015.

While several Indian brands such as Mid Day, Ford Figo, CyberMedia, Cottonworld, Kit Kat, Infosys, and Geetanjali Jewelers are going the QR way to improve consumer engagement, their efforts still comprise a precious little of the global pie. It may be a while before marketers as well as consumers adopt and embrace QR codes as part of their everyday experiences; so clearly, it will take more than a simple code to deconstruct the puzzle that is the Indian consumer.


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