What killed the QR code?

QR codes showed a lot of promise a couple years ago as the number of smart phone users increased. But these unique tombstone-300x425looking squares never really took off and now it seems like most marketers have given up on them. If video killed the radio star, what killed the QR code?

Unfortunately for QR codes there seems to be several factors for its demise. One of the biggest factors leading to the QR code’s death was misuse. Companies were so excited to try this new way of connecting print media with online media that they slapped a QR code on whatever print material they could, as fast as they could. In many of these cases, the QR code led consumers to a page that was not optimized for mobile screens, making it hard to read. Or the code led to a webpage that showed no connection to the print material that the QR code was printed on.

Even when a QR code is used correctly, it’s hard to convince oneself that the minute it takes to pull out your phone, open up a scan-friendly app (assuming one had been downloaded), scan the QR code and then wait for the experience to load, is worth it. 

There are also some new alternatives taking over for QR codes that seem to be easier to use and provide the consumer with better content and information. One of these alternatives is Clickable Paper.  This new technology allows users to click on any part of the advertisement instead of having to focus on a specific code. You are then given a range of options depending on what the print ad was about, including a link to Amazon to buy the product, a YouTube product video, customer reviews, and the ability to share the link via Facebook, Twitter, or email. Watch this video to see Clickable Paper in action.

Whether it’s Clickable Paper or another new technology, the death of the QR code provided us with some lessons to follow for new technologies:

  • Make it easy for consumers to use.
  • Explain how it works, in clear, concise language.
  • Employ it only when it can add something unique to the user experience.
  • Make sure content or ads that contain it won’t be put in places where cellphone service is unavailable.
  • Make the apps available only for situations when using them makes sense.

Do you see any benefit of using Clickable Paper for your company? As a consumer would you take the time to use Clickable Paper or is it the same as a QR code to you?

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Don’t Get Prankvertised!

Recently, companies have been scaring the bejesus out of random people walking down the street. These people weren’t being attacked (although some might argue otherwise), they simply fell victim to a prank. But these aren’t your normal, everyday pranks. They are pranks that are caught on video in the hopes of creating a viral video that will advertise a brand. It’s being called prankvertising, and it seems to be gaining speed.

 

The purpose of prankvertising is to break through the clutter of online media and grab the audience’s attention, and it seems to be working. These prankvertising videos are going viral almost immediately, getting millions of views every day. News outlets are also picking up the viral sensations and are featuring them in online, print, and TV stories, giving the brand free media coverage. But there can be some risk to this kind of advertising.

 

If the videos are truly using random people on the street and not actors, there is a high level of risk involved. Their reactions will be unpredictable, which on the one hand can create a great video but on the other can be dangerous. They could easily think the prank is real and hurt someone by reacting violently. Or they could sue the company for emotional distress. Some marketing professionals are saying this type of advertising just isn’t worth it because you don’t want your brand associated with some outrageous level of mayhem and tragedy.

 

What do you think? Are these prankvertisements worth it or are companies going too far to get exposure?

 

Haven’t seen a prankvertisement? Here’s a recent one to advertise the movie “Devil’s Due.”