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Vanity QR Codes: Are They Worth It?


QR codes are amazingly simple to generate. We at BeQRious.com have shown you how to create one for yourself, even to the point of allowing you to create as many QR codes for as many uses you have. But as QR codes begin to proliferate and become much widely used, you can’t help but notice how boring and dull they are with just the pixilated black and white box they come in.

Over the months, you might have seen QR codes that go outside the box, so to speak. They come in colors (other than black and white) such as red, violet, yellow and even brown. They have nifty animations, cartoons, text and even logos in them. They are, in short, pretty eye-catching.

Louis Vuitton’s Decorative QR Code features a panda, a predominantly violet interface and the company logo among other things.

These are what we call vanity QR codes or decorative QR codes. They are a work of art in themselves and voila, if you scan them, they work just like regular QR codes.

The Advantages

Decorative QR codes, apart from being attractive and pretty, can set your QR code apart from the rest. Depending on how they are done, they could BE your entire advertisement, especially if they are that beautiful.

What’s more, in a world that is getting slowly saturated by QR codes, having a decorative one can still get you featured on technology and marketing blogs.

The Downside

There is a reason, however, why not every QR code you see now is decorative. For one, it is much more difficult and very expensive to create. To come up with a decorative code, you need to make sure that it is still very much “scannable” even with all the elements you have included. Another drawback is that some people might not even recognize it as a QR code.

Much more vital is that you would be severely limited when printing it out. Decorative QR codes are much more difficult to reproduce especially for smaller marketing materials. Using color might be moot if you’re using black and white printing.

Instructions, Instructions…

QR code campaigns are a great way to bridge your online content and your offline marketing materials. What’s more, you could inexpensively give your customers and potential buyers more information about your products, services; discounts and loyalty programs; or simply engage them continuously over time by keeping tabs with them on your Facebook ‘like’ page or Twitter account.

QR code campaigns, however, need to be planned and carrying it out is not just a matter of getting your QR codes up on your marketing flyers, posters, TV advertisements and posters. BeQRious.com has come out with several features on how to maximize your campaign (LINK TO ARTICLE: Ways to Maximize Your QR Code Campaigns) and things to make sure you take into account when rolling out a QR code campaign (LINK TO ARTICLE: Real World Examples of QR Code Fails).

One of the aspects that you need to take note of, however, are instructions. We have said before that a QR code campaign would certainly fail without proper instructions. Here are four things you should include when writing instructions for your QR code campaigns:

1. How to get the reader. Although most smart phones coming out these days have a pre-loaded QR code reader installed, this would still help you corner the people with older mobile phones, or if your code requires a special reader. It would also help if you could put in which platforms are compatible with your codes, such as iPhones, Android or Blackberry. Ideally, however, your QR codes should be universally “scannable.”

2. How to scan the code. A simple line telling the customer to fire up their QR code scanner apps and take a picture of the code could work wonders in increasing your scan rates.

3. Answer the question: What’s in it for me? Your code should come with a preview of what they could expect when they scan it. A video tour? Exclusive discounts? Online coupons? Tell your prospective scanners what they could get if they scan the code.

4. Alternatives. Not everyone would be technologically savvy enough to scan your code, or they might have left their iPhones at home. Put in alternatives: your Web site’s URL or a hotline number they could call for those instances when they are not able or not willing to scan your code.

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