The premier issue of Vancouver’s new monthly Hush Magazine is brimming with QR codes. From ads to editorials, they are nearly on every page of the magazine. Hush describes itself in one tagline – raw, honest, and local. The more in-depth definition lies in the magazine’s goal, which is to reinvent what a magazine actually is by blending print, video, and social media.
The Hush team has been laboring to keep the magazine secret during its four years of development. The team chose Valentine’s Day specifically for the imagery of love, wanting their readers to fall in love with their publication. The first issue has, however, ruffled more feathers than expected.
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The QR codes used in the magazine are proprietary codes supplied by Mobio. The codes can only be scanned using Mobio’s QR scanner. Using any other application will result in nothing more than a string of illegible text. While the Mobio app is free, few knew that it would be needed for the code and were thus unable to scan them at all.
The codes themselves link to additional online content in the form of videos, but only a handful of readers have seen them. Many readers have chosen not to download the additional app, calling it unnecessary.
Though it may not have been the desired effect for their first issue, some good may come from the bad. Mobio may have solved part of the QR puzzle with its use of proprietary codes. If they were somehow reconfigured to be more user friendly, such codes could be useful for companies wanting to maintain a constant presence amidst a field of competitors all vying for attention.