QR Code Detective: Do tech experts use the best barcode marketing techniques?

This week, our investigators asked if companies focused on technology use quick response codes to their best advantage.

Over the last few weeks, the QR Code Detective investigators have been examining the perfect ways to take advantage of quick response codes and they have looked into a broad spectrum of different applications of these barcodes in order to see how they have been used by different brands and mobile marketing firms.

This week, we took a look at the usage of these black and white squares by more tech focused businesses.

It would be easy to assume that a company focused on the latest technology would lend itself more naturally to the ideal use of the QR code in its marketing effort. However, the barcodes that were spotted at the 2014 Fan Expo Canada, last weekend, proved that this was not always the case. The use of the barcodes was surprisingly inconsistent from one brand’s ad to the next. In fact, as you’ll see below, it was the company least associated with technology that used the barcode to its greatest potential.

Have a look at the various types of QR code that were spotted at this year’s Fan Expo event.

These ads were all seen among the various displays, demonstrations and booths at the Fan Expo held in Toronto, Canada.

QR Code Ubisoft Fan Expo

3 stars - QR Code DetectiveUbisoft Entertainment – This video game and development giant had a massive display that focused on the popular Assassin’s Creed series, including everything from game demos to 3D printing of the game’s main character, Arno, right before the visitor’s eyes. However, also included in the display, tucked off to the side against one of the walls was a QR code. It was set onto a black background with no explanation or call to action, whatsoever. Scanning brought the user directly to the Ubisoft YouTube channel so that visitors would be able to view the trailer for the game or navigate to other videos posted on the channel.

2 stars - QR Code DetectiveCSIS – The Canadian Security Intelligence Service was present and hoping to recruit, with a sizeable display that encouraged attendees to apply for a career with this government service. As much as this national security service is known for using cutting edge tech to achieve its goals, its use of QR codes was less than impressive. The barcode appeared to be added to the ten foot advertising poster as an afterthought. Even more disappointing was that it linked to a website that was not mobile optimized. All of the components on the site worked on a smartphone, but they were always very awkward to use, requiring a lot of zooming and shifting of the screen to be able to read any given paragraph and to view all of the available navigation options.

QR Code Prang Power Fan Expo

5 stars QR Code DetectivePrang Power – Despite the fact that this is a school supplies program for teachers and students – not necessarily a company directly connected with technology – this was also by far the most effective use of the QR code in advertising. The poster was placed in direct sight of the exit of the washrooms of the main space in the Metro Toronto Convention Center. Considering that well over 100,000 people passed through the two buildings, placing an ad outside the washrooms was clever positioning (on the weekend before school was to begin) to ensure that it would be seen. The quick response code provided a mobile friendly experience and the ad itself explained exactly why a consumer would want to scan and how the program works in three easy steps. It also included a Facebook link for easy social media sharing. It could be said that this clearly shows how much it pays to have en education!

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