Are QR Codes Still Relevant?

Cupcake QR

QR codes seem to get something of a bad rep from critics in the marketing & advertising world, but when used simply and in the right context I find they can effectively relay a lot of information at a fraction of the cost of other modern media. In situations where it’s difficult to capture and engage your audience, QR codes bridge the gap between delivering the message and promoting the product.

It could be pedestrians at rush hour, partiers at a nightclub or mother’s hastily window shopping – another pro of the simple QR code is that once scanned, the relevant information is saved to your handset and can be viewed at a time convenient to your user.

In fairness, although I’ve seen some successful uses of QR codes, I’ve also been witness to my fair share of hilarious fails too (one in particular was crudely emblazoned on a cupcake!)

QR-Code Rettungskarte zur Bergung von Unfallopfern

Daimler’s recent venture into QR codes certainly stands out as a success. They announced plans to roll out the codes across the Mercedes-Benz brand as a way to save lives in the event of an accident. Placed in areas of the vehicle less-commonly affected by an impact, the QR codes provide information of the vehicle’s schematics. The idea being that the emergency services don’t accidentally cut through a power line or accidentally trigger an airbag during a rescue.

Inspiring stuff! What’s more, Daimler are waiving their right to patent the idea in the hope that other motor manufacturers are inspired to follow their lead.

From saving lives to educating the masses, another great example I’ve read about of QR codes being utilised efficiently comes from May 2012 when the Welsh town of Monmouth debuted “Monmouthpedia”. Simply put, residents had created a virtual town that displayed site-specific information and data via QR codes!


Six months were spent coding 1,000+ people and destinations that corresponded to 500 Wikipedia articles that were available in 25 languages. Local residents and businesses adopted plaques, labels and stickers adorned with QR codes so that tourists could work their way around the town and learn about it’s people and landmarks.

“Monmouthpedia” even educated Monmouth residents on how to update their Wikipedia page to ensure that all content remains up to date.

Another smart use of QR codes, I’m sure you’ll agree! In a world that is relying more and more heavily on digital platforms, QR codes open up a whole heap of possibilities for brands and businesses. With a large percentage of Brits now owing a smartphone, QR codes are certainly accessible and can provide a great service to the consumer.

I’d certainly like to see where QR codes go over the next few years – as a marketer myself, I’m keen to explore the potential that this humble platform has to offer.

What other clever uses of QR codes have you come across? Please feel free to share them with me on Twitter @DanielleDunn_CA. Likewise, if there’s a particular QR code fail that springs to mind, by all means share that too!


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