Who Is Using QR Codes?

Posted by Nicholas M. Roberts

A lot of people seem to think QR codes are made for a niche audience. So too was the automobile until Henry Ford made them accessible to the middle class. Three years ago they were admittedly being used far more often by independent musicians and artists trying to get you to visit their site, listen to their band or come to their exhibition. While they indeed still serve that purpose, large corporations have also taken advantage of them. I have compiled a list with a few examples.

  • Audi used one on a Japanese commercial.
  • Best Buy keeps a record of what their customers are scanning in the store. You can see the real time results.
  • Calvin Kline actually used them for billboards in 2010.
  • Dell has used them for an online contest where entrants can win a new laptop.
  • Dick’s Sporting Goods has displayed a QR code on a Jumbo-tron at a football game (I’m not sure which) that led to a site where people could make discounted purchases.
  • Facebook. This applies to Facebook itself as well as companies linking their QR codes to their Facebook fan pages.
  • Fox
  • Google
  • Lego (The two are very compatible)
  • McDonalds is using it to store nutritional information, but so far only in Japan.
  • Pepsi, both on bottles and in advertisements.
  • Ralph Lauren has used them in print ads offering style guides and exclusive videos.
  • Starbucks is actually using QR codes as a method of payment.
  • Warbasse Design (likely in conjunction with Paramount and certain movie theaters). In 2008 for promotion of the film Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull, poster designer Warbasse added a QR code to some movie posters that would go to certain theaters. By scanning the code, theater goers could watch movie trailers and also get a free concession with their next ticket purchase. Other movie posters (Iron Man 2 and Inception for example) have since followed.

We’re in an interesting place with QR codes. They’re popular enough that these companies are using them, but not yet to the point where we’ll hear about it. We’re still in the stages where QR marketing campaigns are slipping through the cracks for publicity. This blog is just the same. I’m well aware these are not the only companies using QR codes nor are they even necessarily using them the most prominently. If you are familiar with any other major brand using a QR campaign please feel free to comment or contact me. Try to find a good reliable resource too. Perhaps together was can develop an ever-growing exhaustive list.