QR codes may have been embraced by marketers, but they have also been derided by a lot of people. Many critics of the QR code describe it as ‘pointless’ and a bad idea for a marketing campaign. While we have supported the use of QR codes for marketing and non-marketing purposes, it has to be admitted that we have seen some really bad uses of QR codes as well. Perhaps the problem is that marketers fell over themselves to adopt this new technology without really thinking about how it could be applied in different situations. Many companies, for example, have used the QR code simply to direct users to their home page, which is usually not optimized for viewing on mobile devices. Such things frustrate users and they end up blaming the QR code itself, rather than its application.
We’ve also seen QR codes being placed in such a way that its either difficult or impossible to scan them. Read on to find out about 3 of the worst placements for QR codes.
On a freeway billboard
If you’ve placed a QR code on a freeway billboard, you’re asking for trouble. Not only is it going to be difficult for people to notice the code, given the speed at which most vehicles zoom by, it’s also going to be impossible to stop and scan the code. Clearly, a QR code on a freeway is a bad idea.
A lot of people seem to think that placing a QR code on their home page is an acceptable way of linking people to more information. This is simply not true. First of all, the fastest way to link people to information on a webpage is to simply place a URL there. Nobody is going to believe that whipping out a smartphone and then scanning the code is going to get the job done any faster. Second, you need to consider people who are coming to your website via their mobile devices. How do you expect them to scan the code?
Nothing is more awkward than stopping before a complete stranger and scanning a QR code on his t-shirt. It’s difficult to see how brands expect this use of the QR code to work. It only makes sense in certain contexts – in trade shows and conferences, for example, where the whole point is to network and connect with new people. But if you have employed someone to stand at a street corner wearing your QR code t-shirt, it’s very likely that the effort is going to waste.