Experiment: Do People Really know about QR Codes?


I have talked about QR Codes a few times in the past, mainly because I see them as a great opportunity to bridge the physical and digital worlds.  For a quick refresher QR codes are two dimensional bar codes that can be printed on anything from a packing slip to a movie poster. These codes serve as a portal to some type of digital action: Web site, video, text message, and even a phone call.

Here is a video I did to help explain QR codes and to review one of the QR code readers available for the iPhone:

So if you have a QR code reader then they are pretty simple right? The problem is not everyone has a QR code reader and the bigger issue is that most people in the U.S. don’t know what QR codes are.  QR codes and other 2D bar codes are very popular outside of the U.S., especially in Japan. The opportunity with QR codes is that they are low cost. Most companies have Web sites that are used in their marketing efforts so they are already shelling out the cash to create them. The QR code can simply serve as a free method of extending that site into the physical world. Since QR codes are black and white they can easily be added to print materials with no additional cost. They are also free to create and the process only takes about a minute.

This sounds good right? It is, we are stuck with the problem that people don’t know what they are. So that leads me to my experiment.  I will be at South By South West Interactive next week and while I am there, I am going to conduct my own QR code experiment.

Watch this video to see what it is:

I realized that I have created a super dorky t-shirt, but I am interested to see the response. I will report back after SXSW to let you all know what I found out.

One Response to “Experiment: Do People Really know about QR Codes?”

  1. I’m looking forward to hearing your results. I’ve been pumped about QR codes for years, but the US population just doesn’t seem interested.

    I think our domestic carriers need to start bundling reader applications on any phone with a camera for it to really take off. Sure, tech geeks will have readers installed, but tech geeks are such a small segment of the population, it’s not a large enough install base to warrant any serious attention from marketers yet.

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