Mobile Marketing

Form Meets Function: Extreme Makeover QR Code Edition

October 18, 2010

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So much of digital and mobile media is about performance: How many clicks did it result in? How can we optimize site traffic? What’s the average time spent or completion rate? How many virtual gifts were shared? All important information, but too often some of the most crucial components of advertising are left untapped: Creativity and building brand equity.

One way marketers are recapturing creativity and whimsy in advertising is through the artistic mutation of QR codes. In essence, QR codes are quite a functional marketing tactic – a simple conduit from offline experiences to mobile/online content. As a quick refresher, a QR (quick response) code is a two-dimensional barcode that looks something like a computerized Rorschach test and holds much more data than a conventional barcode. When scanned by a QR reader on a mobile phone, QR codes can deliver robust content to the user such as a mobile website, a video, or really anything you can imagine.

So, very functional, designed to get you from point A to point B. But because the decryption algorithm used to generate QR codes allows for about 7-30% error margin, some brands have started to add a little whimsy into their QR designs.

Here are some examples:

Disney movie posters in Japan

Billboard to promote a Kanye West album

A beautiful QR code design to promote HBO’s Boardwalk Empire

Louis Vuitton/Takashi Murakami desig

A user-generated QR code within Farmville itself

QR code cupcake

Some common uses for QR codes are as a quick way to send users to a mobile website, deliver multimedia content to them on the go, sign them up for offers and promotions, provide more information about a product, create fun scavenger hunt games, even potentially as an alternate means of purchase.

In short, the possibilities for QR codes are endless. Not only can marketers use them to deliver all manner of compelling, useful, and interesting content to users, but their designs can deliver strong branding and creative messaging never before possible.

For more on QR codes and mobile marketing, check out 360i’s Mobile Marketing Playbook.

-Tanya Nam, Technology Director at 360i, contributed to this report.