Wednesday, March 9, 2011

QR Codes, are not there yet...


This morning I was on my way to the office, when I saw an excellent graphic execution, creative and with a potentially very good performance.

JetBlue is offering their getaways vacations to New yorkers who are tired of winter, etc, etc and that is right. They are not only attracting the attention with a BIG QR Code filled with beaches pictures, but at 7:00am, trust me it is something I want to read more about and knowing JetBlue, the offers will be customized to me... right?

Well, the graphic executions is great, the media planning is perfect BUT... They thought on using QR Codes to attract attention and also to deliver more (targeted) information... but the QR code doesn't work because the picture of the kid and also... they are using the ad space next to the train doors, so if I want to take a picture of the QR Code, I will be bothering the person who is sited in front of it, finally... there is no cell phone connectivity on the subway (until today) so I can not download data while I am infront of the Ad. And this is the ALWAYS story, something great as an idea, draft, mock up, plan, etc... can not be 100% exploted, due a poor implementation. Sometimes agencies do not look all the details or they do not push too strong with the client. The consequence could be that JetBlue analyze the results and decides that the campaign was ok, the product was attractive BUT the QR codes did not have the expected response and that might be the end of an experiment and everything, just because someone forgot to tell the graphic designer to move the kid from the code and the media implementation team, forgot the context of the ad space...

QR Codes are not for everything, now I can see them everywhere and we need to remember that this are not easy to read, these are not just scan and read, these are 1.- take the picture, wait; 2.- read, wait; 3.- open web page, wait. The VALUE behind the action should be higher than expectations, otherwise the user wont be using the codes too much.

I think the codes will find their right usage during the next 24 months and in the mean time (like we have been living it for the last 36 months) they will remain as a trend / experiment.

What uses do I think will be interesting (just 2 examples from the multiple that could be)?
1.- Real State: It will be awesome to just scan a code on a "on sale" ad, outside of a building or an apartment and see the photos and extra info
2.- Drug info: Contraindications, Instructions, The comments of your doctor...

These 2 things will be great as mobile content on the go in where faster than a keyword search, we just point our phone to the QR Code and we get the content, but besides working on having useful and great content, the QR readers should be easier, the phones should come with that as a default, no app, no open and click, just scan. Would it be great if I just point my phone and everything happen without me opening an app, then pointing, then clicking and then waiting? that is not how the bar code scanners work... you just scan it in less than a second... until that moment, the QR Codes are just fashion and not very useful today.

I do not know if they will last for more years, but I am sure this or some other codes will work the same way I explained above and this will happen in the next 18 months (the scanning part and the content). In some countries they are almost there (Japan, Korea)