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About QR Codes

A QR code, or Quick Response code, is a type of 2D barcode that can hold more than 4,000 alphanumeric characters. This gives you the ability to store a significant amount of information in a small space.

While QR codes were initially developed for use in automotive manufacturing, the codes are now widely used in marketing, advertising, and sales. A QR code can be used to store a URL, so users can instantly link to a website, blog, or social media property. This provides a connection between the typically offline world of print advertising and the online world. The QR code is also commonly used on business cards, as seen in the example below.

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  • Wasp Barcode Technologies
    1400 10th Street
    Plano TX 75074
    www.waspbarcode.com

To read a QR code, a user must have a barcode scanner that can read 2D barcodes, or a camera phone with the appropriate app installed.

Learn more about how your business can use QR codes.

To create a linear (1D) barcode, try the free online Barcode Maker - Barcode Generator.

Creative and Unique Uses for QR Codes

The more creative your QR code, the more likely you’ll create engagement between your message and consumers. The following companies successfully used QR codes in both inventive and creative ways to connect and educate their purchasing audience. How do QR codes fit into your advertising campaigns? Use the examples below as guideline or inspiration.

Tesco Creates Revolutionary Method of Shopping While on the Go
Tesco encountered issues drawing their Korean customers into stores – their consumers were spending most of their time either working or commuting to and from work. Creating a virtual store in subway stations allowed Tesco to sell goods to commuters by displaying product images with a QR code – the code was scanned using a smartphone and the product was added to that customer’s shopping cart. Once the sale was completed, the products were delivered directly to the customer’s home. Companies can use QR codes to create virtual storefronts anywhere they desire.

Taco Bell and Mountain Dew Offer Promotional Downloads to Customers
Taco Bell and Mountain Dew ran a popular campaign giving customers QR codes linking to music downloads. Promotions, especially for free items, tend to be extremely popular. QR codes are an ideal way to distribute these promotions because they are fun, easy, and exciting.

Sukiennice Museum Finds a New Method of Bringing Interactivity to the Museum
The Sukiennice Museum in Poland provides a deeper level of visitor interactivity to their museum by adding QR codes to their displays. Many museums have struggled with methods of bringing their art to life, especially in an increasingly technological world. By scanning QR codes, visitors are able to learn more about the history of a piece. Interactivity is an excellent way to broaden the museum experience.

Back to Vinyl: The Office Turntable
Kontor Records was looking for a new method of promoting music to advertising agencies. The result – one of the most ingenious uses of the QR code. Rather than sending a CD, they designed an envelope that looked like a turntable. This “office turntable” included a QR code in the corner. When the code was scanned, the user’s smartphone became an interactive needle when placed on the record. 71% of the 900 QR codes were activated; that’s 64% more than the average response.

Pet Owners Use QR Codes to Reclaim Lost Pets
Pet owners are adding QR codes to their pet's tags. These QR codes can be scanned to retrieve the owner's contact information in the event the pet becomes lost. This valuable QR code allows for more information than a standard dog tag.

Wilkinson Sword Shows Product Videos to Educate Customers
Potential buyers interested in Wilkinson Sword's razor products are able to scan QR codes next to the item to see the product in action. Many companies sell products or services requiring an element of customer education or pitching; QR codes are the perfect tool

Guinness Introduces Interactive QR Codes to their Glasses
Guinness advertisers engineered a QR code that requires their product be used to display the code – genius! The Guinness glass has an unreadable QR code; that is until the glass is filled by the dark liquid. Once filled, the glass can be scanned to send an update to a social media account. Interactivity encourages users to scan!

Made by Stupid Card Company Offers QR Code Greeting Cards
Find it impossible to send the appropriate message by just writing in a greeting card? Made by Stupid prints custom QR codes in their greeting cards linking to a digital mixtape created by the sender. It's the perfect way to create a custom gift within a convenient card.

Heineken Brings People Together at the Event
Heineken enhanced the social interaction of an event by giving each individual a QR code. These QR codes were then scanned, displaying a special message to the person who scanned them. Heineken was able to create conversations through the interactive experience of scanning an individual’s QR code sticker.

Professionals Using QR Codes to Connect
Professionals are finding a variety of uses for QR codes. They can be used on resumes, cover letters, and business cards to make it easier for HR representatives and other contacts to quickly connect with the individual; this creative use may even separate individuals from stiff competition in the job market and in the sales industry.

Tattoo Shop Uses QR Code to Recruit Prospective Artists
A tattoo shop received a lot of additional advertising after it put out a full page ad to recruit talent. The ad included a barely visible QR code with the instructions to trace, fill, and then scan. Scanning the completed QR code allowed prospective tattoo artists to send in a resume. It was inventive, unique, and generated considerable media attention.

The Dutch Heart Foundation Uses QR Codes to Save Lives
At times it isn't the QR code that's inventive but it’s how the code is displayed. The Dutch Heart Foundation created a dramatic and memorable advertisement: a QR code made out of people standing by as a man suffered from cardiac arrest. Scanning the QR code takes users to the app store where the Foundation’s CPR app can be downloaded; the app gives users audio support when performing CPR.

Budweiser Extends Happy Hour
Buy a Budweiser, receive a QR code, and extend your “Happy Hour” by a minute per each code scanned. According to the agency responsible for the idea, this QR code campaign extended happy-hours by 6,000 minutes and reached over 50,000 people.

Emart’s “Sunny Sale”
To increase lunchtime sales, Korea’s E-MART implemented a campaign using a shadow QR code. The code was only visible between 12 pm and 1 pm. Once scanned, the code directed customers to the E-MART online store where they received a $12 coupon. The promotion resulted in more than 12,000 claimed vouchers and a lunch hour sales increase of 25%.

QRapping Paper – The World’s Most Interactive Wrapping Paper
Wrap your presents in videos! When scanned with a smartphone or tablet, each QR code links to a holiday video not posted anywhere else. You may find these QR codes mean you spend more time with the wrapping paper than the actual present.

Location, Location, Location
In 2011, Britain’s beach volleyball champions, Zara Dampney and Shauna Mullin, rented their bikini bottoms as advertising space. The QR code directed scanners to the online sports betting company Betfair. The uniqueness of this QR code’s location generated tons of press for Betfair – the exact aim of this marketing campaign.

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