Don’t ask me what I think of QR Codes. You can’t handle it.

imageChances are you have seen one of these somewhere lately. And chances are if you are not a nerd like me in a tech-social media-internet world you have no idea what they are. Well, my un-techy friends, this is a QR code. QR stands for ‘quick response’ and is essentially a square bar code.

How do they work Marcy?* You see one on a business card, or a poster or a magazine ad and you are expected to grab your smart phone, use an app you need upload ahead of time, and basically hold up your phones camera to ‘unlock’ or read the content embedded in the code thingy. Yup. Like aimage decoder ring for marketing. Oh, but if you do it ‘wrong’ (too close, curvy surface, bad angle etc.) you get an error message. Because we don’t have enough of those in our life huh?

What kind of content Marcy? It can be contact information, relevant data or even activate a video which is then watched on the screen of your phone.

QR Codes are kinda getting a lot of buzz right now. Not all good. Not all bad. And I get asked frequently what I think of them….and here is my final official answer….

I hate QR Codes.

imageI will tell anyone who asks too. I absolutely hate them. Usually I say ‘QR codes are the scratch and sniff stickers of our time’. Which leaves them a little confused. Especially, if it is some youngin’ who didn’t even live through the  scratch-n-sniff sticker crazy of the very early 80’s. (Which reminds me, do you have any grape unicorns? I need one more to complete my sticker book :)

Why the hate Marcy? BECAUSE. QR Codes require an active audience, someone who WANTS to engage, and go thru the effort of scanning the stupid things. And for what? What is the pay-off? Self promoting brand DATA; A commercial that pimps your services, products or promotion. So I hate them because any marketing tool that requires the consumer to expend energy (no matter how little) to engage is on the losing end of a deal. The viewer has to be MOTIVATED to WANT to know what lies behind the QR code. And currently the effort to pay-off ratio is skewed.

To be fair, some brands are trying to up the pay-off. One wine company has QR codes on their bottles which offers the consumer a free winery tour, should they be near the winery location. Which is fine- but why make people jump thru hoops for that perk? Why not offer free winery tours period? And of course other brands are offering those who take the time to ‘unlock’ the data on a QR code a discount or coupon.

What would make them better Marcy? Well, I have a new car. And my new car has these fancy keys that unlock the car door as I am WALKING UP TO IT. I don’t even have to take the keys out of my purse. Yes, these are some smart keys huh?

So I hope that soon, we will be able to just get near QR codes and we will be given the option to engage. That said, in order for consumers to start allowing brands to push content to their most personal tech space (phones) they are going to have to improve the pay-offs. Think FREEBIES people.

So there. I hate QR codes. And now you know why. Of course if they smelled like grape then maybe I might change my mind.

*Here I go again. Interviewing myself. I’m special.


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