QR Codes in the Mail, Part II

Posted by: Nicholas M. Roberts

As I stated in my last post, I have been going through the fliers that were sent to my home and critiquing the use of QR codes. I have had much better reactions to the next ten than I did with the first dectet. Let’s continue…

Exhibit K: Woolite Fabric Softener. While the last Woolite exhibit brought us to a commercial directed by Rob Zombie, this one brings us directly to the company’s website. While the site does use a lot of space promoting the same video, there is some other useful information about fabric care and protecting the environment. I have my reserves, but I will give it a thumbs-up.

Exhibit L: Bissel. There are many different kinds of floors and carpets and as such there are different types of vacuums needed to clean them. It isn’t always obvious which is right for your needs so Bissel provides a QR code duet to help you decide. They even guide you to ScanLife if you don’t have a smartphone. This was well thought out marketing. Thumbs-up!

Exhibit M: Sea Pak Popcorn Shrimp. This QR code leads to a store locator for retailers that sell Sea Pak products. Pretty neat, but since it’s printed next to a buy-one-get-one-$5-off coupon it’s much more justifiable. Thumbs-up.

Exhibit N: National Education Association. Scan the code and be taken to a site where you can share stories of how budget cuts are affecting your child’s school. The NEA president intends to collect these stories and use them to convince Congress to consider alternatives. How could I give this any other rating than a thumbs-up?!

Exhibit O: Also from the NEA magazine. This code instead brings you to the official NEA Facebook page where you can network with others about educational issues. Sure, why not? Thumbs-up.

Exhibit P: Verizon. Our first trio of codes, each one brings you to more information on a particular phone. The top code leads to info on the Droid Bionic, the second one from the top carries you to info on the Pantech Breakout and the bottom-most code is for the Verizon Wireless 4G LTE Mobile Hotspot-MiFi 4510L (that’s a mouthful). While the off-ad information doesn’t reveal any additional features, it does describe what each of the features means and it also links to some reviews. Not too shabby. Thumbs-up.

Exhibit Q: More Verizon. The top code is for the Samsung Galaxy Tablet and it leads to the same type of information that could be found in the codes in Exhibit P. The bottom code leads to info on Verizon as a whole and how they accept hardware trade-ins. This information was common knowledge, but scanning the code taught me a lot that I didn’t know. For example, Verizon’s website will actually appraise your current phone! I’ll forfeit another thumbs-up!

Exhibit R: Express. This QR code allows you to download a special Express mobile app that allows you to shop for holiday gifts at the touch of a button. Linking to an app download? That’s a thumbs-up in my book!

Exhibit S: Radio Shack. Not every app is limited by the functions of your phone. Some apps require additional hardware to function properly. Radio Shack is selling app accessories such as the Lark Silent Un-Alarm & Sleep Sensor and the Square Credit Card Reader. Knowing that my phone has these capabilities with just a simple add-on certainly had me curious, so I scanned the code and learned a bunch more. Thumbs-up!

Exhibit T: Scotch-Brite. Another MS Tag, but at least this one is colorful. It leads to a page of reviews for Scotch-Brite scrub sponges. Assuming the company hasn’t picked and chosen through their favorites, I think customers could really benefit from a second, third, fourth and even a seven hundred fifty-second opinion. Thumbs-up!

I’m very pleased that of the twenty ads I looked at, sixteen of them seem to have been well thought out and useful. That’s an 80% success rate! It also means that 20% of companies are still struggling to make QR codes that are worth scanning. With more and more companies including QR in their marketing, it will be difficult to determine if these statistics will become more or less favorable. If everyone learns to follow [the commandments], QR would be beneficial for all parties 100% of the time.