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Real World Examples of QR Code Fails


As with every new technology, there are a lot of QR code campaigns that failed. QR code might be a decades old technology, but its widespread use is still in its infancy. Companies adopting this technology early are bound to make mistakes, rendering their campaigns unsuccessful.

You don’t have to make the mistakes to learn from it. Here is BeQRious.com’s list of QR code fails that you should avoid!

1. Using a proprietary reader. QR codes are not the only 2D code standard available. There are others such as the semacode, shotcode, the Aztec code, and the data matrix code. QR codes, however, are more effective than these other codes because just about any smartphone available nowadays come with a QR code scanner. Using a proprietary reader, you would have to direct your users to download and install the appropriate scanner onto their phones, something that they might not want to do or do not know how to do. If they can’t decode your code, your message will be unread, unnoticed and ignored.

2. Here’s the QR code, now what? It’s a common oversight that people who know what QR codes are and how to decode them tend to take other people for granted. So what happens is that they launch campaigns by just posting the QR codes on flyers, posters and other printed materials. The problem is that a lot of their customers have yet to see a QR code and while curious about the pixilated box on your new newspaper ad, they do not have any idea what it is for and how to use it. When using QR codes in your marketing, make sure that you give proper, clear and concise instructions on how your target audience can read it.

This QR code ad from Ralph Lauren just saved many potential customers from guesswork on what they should do with the code.

3. Putting up unreadable QR codes. While print materials might have no problems with this particular aspect, it is very much a problem with TV advertisements using QR codes. How many times have you seen a QR code come out on TV then raced for your smartphone and quickly fired up your QR code scanner application. By the time it loads, the TV advertisement has ended and so has your chance to scan the QR code. Another case is with a retail store that puts its QR codes on posters within the premises. The problem is, the codes are placed too high up that people cannot get a clear scan of them.

As with other traditional and non-traditional marketing strategies, it helps to test out your QR code campaigns. Check out if you can comfortably scan a QR code and make sure that it resolves to the mobile site or whatever content you want it to go to. Only then could you be sure that your campaigns won’t leave you with a big red FAIL! on your forehead!

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