If you live in Canada or the US, it's taken awhile for them to get here, but the QR codes have arrived in full force. These little QReatures (if you will) have probably invaded your pantry, too. Just check the label on that bottle of ketchup or other items stored in your fridge or pantry and you'll see what I mean.
The QReatures that I'm speaking of are none other than QR Codes! The QR in QR code stands for quick response and they are indeed just that! Invented in 1993 by a subsidiary of Toyota, Denso Wave, they were originally created as an inventory tool to track automotive parts. Throughout the years, they've made their way throughout other parts of the world and in recent years have spread across the US and Canada.
So, how exactly do QR codes work and how can they be used?
Although they started out as an inventory tool, people have really grown quite fond of the QR code and have come up with all kinds of QReative uses (notice how my spelling has become very QReative?). Marketers have really embraced QR codes as they can literally breathe life into print media. Well, maybe that's a bit of an exaggeration, but they definitely do add a whole new dimension to an ordinary piece of paper.
Smartphone users simply download a barcode or QR code reader app to their phone and then scan the code with their phone. Static QR codes and dynamic QR codes can be generated to direct the user to anything with a URL. So, that means the QR codes, when scanned, can go to a website, a mobile landing page, a virtual business card, a YouTube video, an image, a pdf file " anything with a URL!
Five Fun QR Code Uses
As a huge fan of QR codes, here are 5 of the coolest QR code uses that I've come across -
- QR Code Beer Promo – thank you to my friend, Cheri, for sharing this QR
code she found on Mashable. Guinness ran a brilliant QR code promo to build their brand. They created a beer glass with frosted image of a QR code on the side of the glass. The only way the user was able to scan and read the QR code was if the glass was filled with Guinness (or some other kind of really dark beer or ale). It wouldn't work with a light colored beer. When the user scanned the code, they were able to check-in on FourSquare, update their Facebook status and Tweet about their Guinness experience. The glass and ad campaign were designed by BBDO in NY.
- QR Code Animated Tattoo - now this one took some courage (or maybe some liquid courage – a few of those glasses of Guinness). Take a look at this video and watch as the worlds first animated tattoo is created by a French tattoo artist by the name of K.A.R.L. (click here to watch the video)
- QR Code Pet ID Tags - this idea makes a lot of sense and if I had a dog, Id have a QR code dog tag made for my dog. Imagine that you've just moved and poor little Fido gets out to explore his new surroundings. Before long he finds himself lost. As a responsible pet owner, you've got a dog tag on him, but the dog tag has all the old contact info on it and the person who finds Fido calls you only to find your old number has been disconnected. If you had a QR code on Fido's collar, the person who found Fido could simply scan his QR code and it would take them to Fido's mobile landing page where, as soon as you realized he was missing, you had quickly logged in and updated all your contact info including a recent photo of Fido. You could have even posted a reward to the person who finds your beloved Fido!
- Wedding QR Codes - adding a QR code to a wedding invitation is a great use
of QR codes, especially if its linked to a mobile landing page. The wedding invitation recipient simply scans the QR code where they can then perform a range of tasks including filling out their RSVP, getting a map with directions to the event and the reception. The wedding couple can even include links to the different wedding registries where guests can go to purchase a wedding gift right from their smartphone or mobile device! The QR codes can also be customized to look like art. The engaged couple could have a heart shape with a colorful QR code in the center. For more info see the NY Times wedding QR code article.
- QR Code Cows - this is my very favorite use of a QR code. So, I saved it for last as I think this is brilliant! There's a dairy farm in southern France that is situated in an area where signs are against their zoning ordinances. This dairy farm got really creative with QR codes " they spray painted QR codes on the side of their dairy cows using big stencils. When passersby see these codes on the cows, they scan them and are taken to a tic-tac-toe type of game app. If they click on the game and get 3 cows in a row, they win some kind of a dairy product or t-shirt from the farm. What a fun way to use QR codes and drum up business. You really have to watch the video (which is in French) to fully understand the power of QR codes.
How Will You Use QR Codes?
It's my hope that you, too, can now see how QR codes really do add a whole new dimension to print media. I bet you've even got some QRazy QR code ideas running through your head right now, too! When it comes to QR code uses, the possibilities truly are limitless!
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Julie Larson (aka the QR Diva) was introduced to the world of Internet marketing at the end of 2010. She loves learning new technologies and teaching others how to implement them in their businesses. Julie lives in Sarasota, Florida and creates WordPress websites for small businesses.