Over the past couple of years, the number of 2D bar codes used in print, out-of-home, in-store, package, direct mail, and event advertising has been steadily on the rise. One of the reasons for this growth is that companies are realizing that 2D bar code technology (i.e., QR codes, Microsoft Tags, data matrices, action codes, print-to-mobile codes, etc. -- call them what you will) offers a new and different way by which they can connect and interact with an existing or prospective customer on a truly personal level. And they can do so via the first screen -- the mobile phone.
However, there is a vast difference between simply placing a 2D bar code in a campaign and having that same bar code deliver results that truly mean something to the targeted audience, as well as to the advertiser themselves. In fact, based on my review of hundreds of 2D-based campaigns, for every one campaign that does deliver something (i.e., value, relevance, meaning, benefit, or a real interactive experience for the consumer) via the code, there are three campaigns that don't and fail in part or altogether.
Let's take a look at three real-life examples of 2D bar code use that failed to capitalize on the true potential of the technology. Consider these lessons in what not to do.