A QR code on my shampoo and conditioner? Are you trying to kill me? Smart phones and water don’t mix. I don’t think I’m the only one who won’t be passing time in the shower by scanning any QR codes. It’s just not worth the risk.
Perhaps I’m supposed to scan the code before I buy the product. If that’s the case, then why is it printed on the back of the bottle? And why is it the size of a pencil eraser? It barely even looks like a QR code at this size. To be honest, it looks like a printing error. What’s the point of this thing?
It seems there are two reasons why brands leverage new and existing technology such as QR codes:
- Because it’s a bright and shiny new object that they want to use just for the sake of using it.
- Because they can apply the technology in a way that’s actually going to help their reputation.
Sadly for my shampoo brand, I think they fall in the first camp. Their QR code did nothing for me except prompt a lot of cheeky questions. I really don’t know what I’d find on the other end that would be useful to me.
To be fair, do all QR codes get this response? A quick survey of our Crossroads team found that four of us could offer examples of QR codes that could be called a success:
- A direct mail piece from United Healthcare saves time by allowing scanners to download the 24/7 Nurseline information directly into their smartphones’ address books.
- Sporting KC codes located inside the stadium give a sense of community during soccer matches.
- QR codes like those from FrontFlip allow you to “scratch” your screen to see if you’ve won a prize that can be redeemed immediately inside restaurants.
- Plant signage at the University of Missouri botanical garden now includes QR codes that take you to a page with more information about the plant.
So what’s the lesson here? If you’re going to use a technology (or any kind of marketing tactic), make sure it provides a practical consumer experience that will lead to a better reputation for your brand. Oh, and please make sure it actually works.