QR codes – does anyone care?

Ben Shepherd rants: I don’t really have an opinion on it – but have noticed that I’m not seeing these ‘next big things of 2008’ anywhere. Even Telstra seems to have stopped pushing them to the market and consumers.

A quick survey of my friends (hey that’s robust enough right) indicates NONE of them know what they are let alone use them. And my friends are cool … well, aside Liam Walsh.

Am I wrong? Is QR massive and I’m just blind? Or is this just ANOTHER digital next big thing everyone drops everything for but nothing ever happens?

QR advocates – tell me what I’m missing and how these can change my world.


9 responses to “QR codes – does anyone care?

  1. i reckon people will care as much for QR codes as they did for WAP.

  2. Guess you’re just not looking in the right places Ben.

    Companies launching QR campaigns in the near future.

    NAB, IBM, JJJ, Asahi, MY24/7 – And those are just the ones I can mention, there is a lot more happening behind the scenes.

    I suppose the biggest issue is that without the correct execution QR fail to live up to expectations. There are a number of “mobile marketing” agencies running around at the moment promotion codes who don’t have the first clue about the way to use them and are just jumping on the hype.

    As with all new technologies the market needs to be conditioned and be given a trade off to even bother learning about it.

    The simple fact is that 99.9% of the market doesn’t care about your message and absolutely no one gives a stuff about your TVC, it’s just an ad within an ad in a market with too many messages already.

    Those who really know how to use QR codes correctly and have had some good campaign results to date know that there has to be a reason for people to even bother in the first place.

    We’ve been promoting QR codes for 2 years now and are only just now starting to see some serious interest in the market. I would say we are still 2 years off from having them “mainstream” but for the right advertiser trying to cut through the noise and reach the right audience codes are a very innovative and indeed cool way to do so which the audience will appreciate.

    Antony McGregor Dey

  3. Massive wasted opportunity. Nobody seems to want to take ownership of it at Telstra / Mediasmart.

    A clearly communicated roll-out plan for the readers and something approaching critical mass early in the piece would have seen this as a viable repsonse channel. In all likelihood, an alternative technology (probably IVR based) will leave QR dead in the water.

    And to think all those whacky Japs have been putting QR Codes on their gravetones!

  4. Judging by the amount of calls I’ve had from MediaSmart in the last 2 hours, there’s life in the old dog yet!

    All have noted that my team (MediaCom Interaction) are users of the product. Fact remains, I want to see this more mainstream and like most of my colleagues (including Ben) we are frustrated around a number of issues (including the marketing, education, distribution, etc) that have accompanied the development of this product.
    Sorry to disappoint you Jono, but I’ve arranged for burial at sea accompanied by a compilation soundtrack of the Crazy Frog ringtones.

  5. talkingdigital

    interestingly i got an email from my mediasmart rep this morning too – nothing like a blog post to get the biz dev guys on the phones (or keyboards) 😉

  6. Ben, some healthy questions that should be asked. We’ve been doing the same – but I firmly believe we’re just entering the ‘Trough of Disillusionment.’
    Despite there being something like 2M capable handsets (ie those with a reader), there is still a relatively small base of active users – our campaigns are typically getting responses in the hundreds not thousands.
    Having said that it’s encouraging stuff, in some cases outperforming SMS keyword response – and things are going to get a heck of a lot better through this year in my view. See some further opinion here…

  7. Mal,

    I would suggest that someone from your team get in touch to hear about the best way to use codes in the current “early-stage” environment. QR codes on Out of Home is a joke at this stage.

    We’re going about it a slightly different way to the others that really addresses the awareness, adoption and cross carrier issues.

    Feel free to call me anytime directly on 0433552424.


  8. talkingdigital

    hey simon – great data on the post on the myne blog.

    i’ve found personally from my experience much more potential (maybe I’m looking too short term) with mobile web … some extremely robust numbers in terms of drum but important metrics (ie reach frequency etc) but also in terms of response and engagement. The beauty of mobile web is the ease for the user (and increasing ease for the advertiser) and the interesting ways it can be used. QR thus far has seemed clunky – which I can understand for a new medium – and a lot of resource for right now might not be much reward (ie response rates in 100’s not 1000’s)

    Another issue I have found and been told about from others is some QR or equivalent code providers (not Telstra) charge pretty exorbitant setup fees that mean ROI wise it can never work.


  9. And just coincidently on my way back to this office just this afternoon from a client meeting is a perfect example of how to “not” to do a QR campaign.


    The execution is a disaster!

    1) There is nothing to introduce the QR code or to clearly tell me how I can “Win tickets to the Australian open”
    2) There is no tracking or reporting function on the QR Code.
    3) The site it links to is http://www.jacobscreek.com which is not formatted for mobile!
    4) There is a banner link on the Jacobs Creek website stating “Mobile phone users click here for the Australian open promotion” but insanely even this does not link to mobile formatted site!?

    In the words of John McEnroe “You cannot be serious!”

    I just can’t understand how these executions keep slipping through? Is there no one there to quality check, does no one in the agency scan the code with their phone and go, oh that looks really bad on my mobile?? Or hang on let me guess… it looks good on their iPhone so it must be fine right?

    This has just been a complete waste of the clients time and money and has created a very poor user experience for those who were tech savvy enough to know what the code was and how to scan it. Which makes it even worse as it’s these people who know how to use the mobile web properly and would really appreciate a good campaign and tell/show their friends etc.

    In fact there are so many examples of these poor user-experiences out there that I’m thinking of starting a QR FAIL blog.

    Ben, regarding high prices I don’t know what you’ve been told but we’re offering QR campaigns for free at the moment…

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