Quick Response Codes Add a New Dimension to Print
By Cassandra Carnes
The graphic arts are well known for pushing the communications envelope and the print industry is quick to add value that generates attention wherever possible. Digital printing allows for variability, the inclusion of personalized text and images to draw consumer interest to direct mail, and personalized URLs (pURLs) to elicit a call to action. One of the latest trends, quick response (QR) codes, helps transform print into an interactive communication channel.
QR codes store URLs or pURL information. The codes link users quickly and easily to designated Web sites through an enabled smart phone’s camera or Webcam. QR codes enable smart phone users to link from physical world image to the Web with one click or snapshot. While these busy, square barcodes may not be exceptionally pretty; they enable fast Web access.
QR codes are desirable because they hold more information than traditional barcodes. According to Blackberry, a typical QR code can include approximately 7,000 numeric characters or 4,000 alphanumeric characters. The adoption of smart phone technology, combined with savvy marketers and consumers, makes QR codes an innovative way to engage print readers.
The interactive codes have gained the attention of many tech-savvy marketers. One interesting example comes from Alec Bradley Cigars. The company recently embedded QR codes in their advertisements, shelf talkers, T-shirts, and other merchandise.
If a consumer sees an Alec Bradley shelf talker in a cigar store or other retail location, they scan the code for details on that particular cigar line. The company directs consumers to mobile-optimized sites created for select brands. "We’ve always paid great attention to detail when creating cigars," says, Alan Rubin, president, Alec Bradley Cigars. "In applying that same kind of detail to our advertising and point of sale material, we’ve seen a very positive response to the technology. In a very traditional industry, it is important to see how technology can be a powerful tool to enhance our customers’ experience, and this is only the beginning."
Other notable QR code uses include the Canadian Tourism Commission’s recent QR-embedded ad campaign in top U.S. newspapers and HBO’s designer TV QR code, which flashed to LOST viewers to preview season 3 of its hit show, TrueBlood.
Blackberry users can try BeeTag or UpCode from Blackberry App World. For the iPhone, try the NeoReader or BeeTag Reader Pro, both fee downloads from the App Store.
Dec2010, Business TechEdge