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Entries in QR (1)


The US needs to get QUICKER with Quick Response (QR) Usage

It seems nearly all my snail mail comes in sporting dashing Quick Response (QR) codes.  QR codes are two dimensional bar codes designed to be read by smartphones:

Some parts of the world are quite advanced with QR codes. For example, in Korea grocery purchasing can be accomplished while waiting for a train:

How are we doing in the United States?  “Lagging” comes to mind.  Why?  Let’s look at some QR codes and the resulting webpages in my recent mail bag. 

My BlackBerry Torch was the input device, and with the slow and read-error prone AT&T Code Scanner replaced with a quick and nearly automatic Jared QR Scanner Pro (available for free at the BlackBerry App World.)  Screen captures were made with Screen Grabber, another free application. 

I’ll acknowledge and grant the BlackBerry device is rapidly being eclipsed with other devices (iPhone or Android) and posit there are enough BlackBerries in the market to make it a weakening contender.  It certainly qualifies as a smartphone. 


QR Source

QR Response




Ad in Real Simple, September 2011.

Frankly, the print ad was a throwback to a bygone era, and I was looking for how the response would tie in.

Well, it didn’t.  In fact, it didn’t even try.  It just failed.

Grade - F



Ad in Time, September 5, 2011.

The print ad promised to find the Barnfield location near me.   Hmm, neat GPS integration?

Sort of.  Selecting the menu option then lets you either use the GPS or enter a zip.

Grade - B



Ad in Real Simple, September 2011.

The QR response took me to an engaging video, one even playing on the BlackBerry.  I forgot about the magazine and got lost in the ad.  Other social media tie ins were available.

Grade A.



Ad in Real Simple, September 2011.

The faucet ad took me to a faucet page….not one engaging on the smartphone.

Grade - D



“Junk mail” – T&G Direct, from “Worcester Telegram and Gazette”, Sept 1, 2011.

This QR simply takes you to the mobile news site.  OK, fair….wouldn’t a sale finder be more relevant when scanning a QR code on a sales flyer?

Grade C-



Direct Mail – QR code on outside of envelope.

We were intrigued with the QR code on the outside of a nice envelope. The response was not optimized for the smartphone.  More impressive would have been an insert to accept the invitation by QR.

Grade C



Direct mail – QR code on Single Product.

We fully expected this vendor to have a QR code on every product in the mailer…sadly, the only QR codes were front cover, and another to shop the clearance section, all not optimized for the smartphone.

Grade C-


This reminds me of the nascent stages of companies establishing a web presence without any functionality.  The flag was planted, and there was nothing more behind it.

My suggestion to the tech folks is to educate your marketing and advertising groups on the power of the QR.  Don’t oversell, you’ll scare them away.  Start small, and then grow.

Think about how QR codes can be used in your business to enable business process reengineering.  

The technology behind QR is sound.  This is a technology we’ll see more of in the near future.

And if you haven’t already, scan this code (repeated from the beginning of the article.)

You’ll get to experience another early QR application.