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QR codes - You're doing it wrong

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By The Drum, Editorial

October 21, 2011 | 3 min read

QR codes are in vogue but many just don't work. Nicolas Holzherr, managing director of QRky, names and shames the big brands committing QR crimes...

Time Magazine

Problem: Code alternation and placementThis QR code has been changed (shadow inside the code), is on an angle, as well as being put across the street. The QR code, because of the alternation and perspective, won't scan. It's also questionable with safety - people may well accidentally step into the road without paying attention. Do you want that law suit hitting your desk?

Heineken bottle promotion

Problem: Type of codeHere Heiniken has used a Scanlife 2D barcode rather than a QR code, and far fewer phones are able to scan this type of code than QR codes. Consumers have just got used to engaging with the QR, so why limit the chances of interaction. Stick with the standard!

Red Bull advert, New York

Problem: No internet accessHere, Red Bull put QR codes on a subway advert. However, there was no 3G signal to access the URL the QR code pointed to, so there no chance of anyone actually visiting the linked content. The recent subway campaign by Tesco in Korea worked because they have 3G repeaters on underground. The same could not be said for London Underground for example, so think before you QR.

Bus stop advert

Problem: Placement of QR codeThe QR code is far too close to the floor, so the user would need to bend down with their phone to scan. This is too much effort for most people, so this code would only achieve low scan numbers.

28 Days Later movie poster

Problem: QR code too large for people walking by - too much dataPeople walking past this code would need to stand back a good few metres to be able to scan the QR, possibly even needing to cross the road to do so. This QR code also has a large amount of data contained within it - it would have been better to use a URL shortener and then encoded. This would have allowed the code to be reduced significantly in size - less data means you can make a QR code smaller whilst still remaining scannable.

Louis Vuitton

Problem: Artwork lowers the quality of the QR code too muchThis code DOES work on some higher end phones, however many older phones and apps it is unlikely to (such as a Blackberry which is a couple of years old). In order get good scan rates, you should try to ensure that all phones, or at least as many as possible, can scan the code.In part two, coming soon, Holzherr will give you some top tips so you can avoid the QR pitfalls.

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