Posts Tagged ‘QRTag’

At the International Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas recently, WPP chief executive, Martin Sorrell, told a packed audience that mobile advertising has become the most important trend in the industry, thanks to the exponential growth of internet-enabled mobile phones which are key to the industry’s future.

This statement, from one of today’s greatest advertising minds, reinforces the need for those in the offline advertising markets to consider their future business models and evaluate how best to engage with the change in the populations use of mobile technology.

Those in the offline advertising arena are being challenged to come up with creative means for adding another dimension to the once one dimensional media of print.  Whilst printed media will always have a role to play in advertising, consumers are demanding content that engages with their online lifestyles.  There are 5,000,000,000 Mobile handsets in the world today[i] of which 39% are internet enabled[ii]..  This figure is predicted to grow at a phenomenal rate over the next few years, as churn of standard mobile phones is replaced by today’s modern smartphone.

The tech-savvy Japanese market are way ahead of the curve with this challenge and have been using 2 dimensional barcodes on printed media for a number of years.  You will see 2d Barcodes all over Japan, anywhere from food packaging, newspapers, T-Shirts to 48 sheet billboards.  They have even appeared on building facades.  These barcodes are read/scanned using any internet enabled mobile phone with an on-board camera and once scanned; launch the handsets web browser to deliver media rich online content.  Here lies another dimension for print media…

As the US and European markets catch up with mobile handset technology with advent of smartphones such as the iPhone, Blackberry and Android phones, which are now replacing the standard handset in these areas, we too can now bring printed media to life and deliver the immense mass of online content to the mobile consumer.

Imagine, being able to link online content to a piece of POS, or a Press Ad..  What about personalised Direct Mail?  All of these examples are now possible by simply adding a 2d barcode to your print media and delivering media rich, up to the minute content instantaneously to the consumers’ channel of choice – Mobile.

The most popular form of 2d barcode being used in this emerging market is the Quick Response Code, or QR Code as it is better known.  Originally developed for tracking car parts around the Toyota manufacturing operations in Japan in 1994, the QR code is now being used by global advertising brands to deliver mobile content from offline media.  Whilst the technology is not new, the delivery points are and are destined to become common place in today’s mobile market.

QR Codes can be encoded to contain vCards, VEvents, SMS Messages, Geo Location data, Email messages, Text based content and of course URLs.  As the technology has grown from within the underworld Open Source community, we are now starting to see new and innovative ways in which these amazing barcodes are starting to be used.  In recent months, we have witnessed QR Codes being used for interactions like; Instant Charitable donation giving, Social Media Check-in’s and connection exchanges.  Most recently, pURLs have been embedded within QR Codes for the ultra-personalised mobile experience. We have even seen them appearing on clothing and toilet rolls…

We are not from the stable that believes printed media is on the way out – in fact far from it.  But, Print Media does need that 2nd dimension to really engage with today’s tech-savvy consumer and QR Codes may well be the means to achieve this.

Another major feature of QR Code marketing is the ability to track and analyse consumer engagement with your print media advertising.  Free online services like QRtag provide you with the ability to not only generate your own QR Codes, but also track scan interactions, along with providing you with an amazing array of scan analytics on location, handset and media usage.  Totally aligned to today’s world of measureable advertising, QR Codes will stand up and be counted as part of advertising’s ROI measurement!

To join the QR Code revolution, simply download a QR Code reader app to your Mobile – Text the word i-nigma to: 07797882325. You will receive back an SMS containing a link to the i-nigma software download site – the rest is simple.  I-Nigma is just one of literally hundreds of free mobile bar code scanning apps available across, iPhone, Android, Windows, Blackberry and Symbian app marketplaces.  If you don’t have a smartphone, don’t worry, i-nigma will work on any mobile phone that has a camera and web browser installed.

Here are a few examples for you to play with..  Simply scan the QRazyCodes below and see where the QR journey takes you:

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

There is a wealth of additional content available online about QR Codes – why not start with checking out the links below.  The authors of this article regularly publish information rich content via Social Media platforms – a great place to gain knowledge from today’s online world:

Free Online Generator and Analytics Platform

Blog

Facebook

Twitter

YouTube

Clothing Web Site

Author:  Martin Rides, CEO, QRazystuff.com & QRt.ag

QR Code Consultants

Advertisements

Heralded by many as the year that QR Codes would break into the mainstream, QR Codes did leave a mark on UK advertising in 2010, albeit, not the impact some of us were hoping for though.  For fear of claiming 2011 will be the year of the QR Code, we’ll simply review in this post some of the big UK brands that experimented with these amazing codes as part of their mobile marketing strategy in 2010, whilst evaluating some of the issues we have witnessed with using QR Codes in their infancy.

The following list is in no particular order and has been compiled with the help of Roger Smolski’s truly brilliant online bible of 2d Codes use – http://2d-code.co.uk

1. Debenhams

Like so many brands experimenting with the use of QR Codes in marketing, Debenhams, whilst brave and innovative, made some fundamental mistakes with the first use of QR Codes in brand advertising.

We caught our first glimpse of their QR Codes, from a 2d-code.co.uk sighting in Leeds, UK.  A number of Debenhams UK high street stores used Point of Sale (POS) displays in-store which displayed large, complex QR Codes, which once scanned resolved to a text based message offering a free coffee for anyone that took the message to the cashier.  The purpose behind the QR Code ads were to assist the launch of the Debenhams iPhone app, which also contains its own Barcode scanning device.  This initial promotion using QR Codes, highlighted three issues, namely; the fact that Debenhams tried to condense 213 characters of text into their QR Code which made it extremely difficult to scan, secondly they had no form of tracking enabled on the Codes and could therefore not evaluate the effectiveness of the campaign and thirdly assumed only those people who had downloaded their iPhone app, would be scanning the Code..

This train of thought has unfortunately followed throughout their use of QR Codes.  In their latest press campaign, QR Codes played a prominent part in the creative, but alas, these codes are now officially reserved for iPhone users only and out of this small group, only those with the Debenhams app installed could scan the codes.

We know the marketing team at Debenhams will address some of these issues in time and will of course open up their QR Code strategy to the wider world of Internet enabled mobile devices, but let’s just hope their initial foray into using 2d Codes will not put them off in the long term.

2. John Lewis & Waitrose

Now, if there is one brand the QRazystuff Team adore, it has to be John Lewis and especially their Supermarket brand – Waitrose.  It oozes style, quality and a pristine image.  So we were especially excited to see John Lewis & Waitrose enter the world of QR Code advertising in 2010.

Waitrose had us glued to the TV during November last year, when they used QR Codes to tail their Christmas TV campaign.  Whilst QR does stand for ‘Quick Response’, viewers would have needed to be as quick off the mark as the Wild West’s Sundance Kid to capture the QR Code Waitrose displayed in their Xmas TVads.  The Waitrose QR Code appeared quite literally for 2-3 seconds at the end of the TV ad, giving viewers 1 second to locate their phone, 1 second to load their Reader app and if lucky, a second to focus and snap the code.  Alas, we have been unable to find anyone who was quick enough to do this whilst the ad was screened live.  Only those with Sky+ who decided to record this momentous event managed to pause the screen and snap the Code.

Luckily for those who don’t have Sky+, we saw Waitrose continue to run QR Codes throughout all of their pre-Xmas press advertising.  The only disappointment was the lack of imagination when it came to the content.  OK, the Waitrose iPhone and Android app the QR Code downloaded was an app masterpiece, but so much more could have been done with the content – recipe downloads, ‘how to’ video content or even a bit of Heston or Deila working their magic in the kitchen.

Waitrose Parent, John Lewis probably lead the mobile marketing strategy for the group and like Waitrose used QR Codes at the heart of the offline advertising strategy.  John Lewis is not known for being particularly adventurous with their advertising, but have always upheld a superior brand image, renowned the world over.

Whilst browsing one of London’s free newspapers in December, we came across a rash of QR Codes on a number of full page ads, one of which was for John Lewis themselves.  They had given some thought to the content and revealed a stunning Mobile site behind the Code that appeared on their ads.  We thought at the time that one of the UK’s big brands really had ‘got it’ and this might well lead to QR Codes finally hitting the mainstream, lead by a Top 5 UK Brand.  Obviously, only time will tell if this will be true or not, but we live in hope that John Lewis will continue to support QR Code tech during 2011 and beyond.

With the imminent launch of our QR Code generation, tracking and analysis tool – QRtag, we will be helping the likes of John Lewis properly evaluate their use of QR Codes in advertising, which many newcomers to QR Codes are yet to discover!  Not ones to be cynical, but could it be that the above-the-line ad agencies are scared of having measurement tools applied to their advertising?

3. Aldi Supermarket

Aldi services a completely different market to the likes of Waitrose, but within the same newspaper we spotted the John Lewis ad, we also found a full page ad from Aldi, promoting the Medion Multi-Media PC.  This ad may well have been influenced and probably partly funded by Medion, but it did receive high street recognition using the Aldi brand.

We can’t say much about this campaign I’m afraid, as the QR Code content has now been removed, so we’re all experiencing that disappointing 404 experience.  However, the code originally resolved to a desktop web site, severely lacking for the mobile experience.

We’re also puzzled at who thought that slapping the Medion Logo across the middle of the QR Code was in any way creative.  Our QRazyKids could have worked out a more creative use of a QR Code in Paint!

4. Wilkinson Sword

Having been brought up as a dry shave family (including Mrs QRazystuff), we’re not often seen browsing the shelves for wet shave products like the Wilkinson Sword Hydro Razor 5, especially Tesco shelves (note, our preference for Waitrose above).  So, thanks once again has to go to Roger Smolski and his intrepid band of QR Code spotters for this one.  As quoted in Roger’s Blog, “Wilkinson Sword’s announced that QR Codes would be part of their £20 million campaign for the new Hydro Razor 5 in the UK. The first appearance, on a product display in Tesco’s, has been captured on camera by a reader (image below). The QR Code resolves to a mobile site with videos that show the Hydro Razor 5 in action and the chance to enter a prize draw.” The mobile site is still live, so why not check it our by scanning the code below – it’s everything a good QR Code scanning experience should be; good quality content, optimised for the mobile viewing experience.  Also great to see the ad offering multiple mobile response channels (SMS & QR) too!

5. Labrinth – Syco Music

Our QR claim to fame for 2010 has to be the discovery of the UK’s latest pop sensation – Labrinth and his amazingly creative use of QR Codes in firstly building his brand and subsequently delivering some brilliant content to his fans via QR Codes and the mobile channel.

We have written a couple of 2010 posts about Labrinth and the team behind his brand and entrée into the UK music scene, which can be read here –

Building a Music Brand Using QR Codes

Labrinth Goes Wild with Urban QR Code Campaign

6. Liberal Democrats

The highlight of the year for some in the UK (but not many) was the country’s general election.  It wasn’t the most exciting event for the QRazystuff team, but did spark one imaginative political campaign by Martin Tod, the Liberal Democrat MP for Winchester. Embracing Social Media and QR Codes allowed Mr Tod to drive traffic to his Blog through Twitter and the use of QR Codes on print media, kindly donated by the UK tax payer.

It’s probably true to say that the use of QR Codes on Mr Tod’s election posters didn’t win him a single vote, but he has to be applauded for embracing Social Media and running a slick election campaign.  Best of all, he’s an honorary member of the QRazyClub for his use of QR Codes in the 2010 UK General Election!

7. Metro Newspapers

Perhaps its something to do with the number of times we venture into our capital city (commuting by train) that has brought so many press ads carrying QR Codes to our attention, or maybe, we are just the standard punter demanding newspapers deliver another dimension to our daily readership?  Either way, we have witnessed a marked increase in the number of ads in London’s free newspapers that now carry QR Codes as a response mechanism.

One such newspaper, The Metro, continues to run full, 1/2 and 1/4 page ads (no doubt limited to how much empty space they left at the time of going to press) each of which carries a QR Code as a central feature of their app download ads.  Ok, so it’s another bland and boring use of QR Codes for downloading apps, but this could be the start of how this newspaper in particular might exploit the use of QR Codes for their advertisers.  To us, it’s simple… QRtag is a new QR Code and Microsoft Tag advertising platform designed for the multi user environment.  We can deliver multi format Code/Tag generation, whilst providing full scan metrics and subsequent social media interaction analysis.  Offer this as a white labelled solution to the newspaper owners and they then have a self serve 2d Barcode ad platform for all of their titles.  Hacks – Get in touch or let’s meet in a Fleet Street wine bar when you are ready guys!

8. Channel 4 TV – Little Big Brother

We have previously posted about Numbers 8 & 9 of the top 10, which both came from UK TV series.  Not quite the channel we would expect to use QR Codes, but given their intriguing qualities, perhaps this is a good channel for them..

Big Brother Little Brother, used QR Codes on screen throughout the final series, teasing viewers with additional ‘secret’ content only available from the show’s QR Codes.  Read the original post here

Big Brother Little Brother Secret QR Code Message

9.  ITV2 – The Only Way is Essex

We all love mass exposure for QR Codes, but we are stunned when earlier in the year, one of the UK’s top TV Channels (Channel 4) launch their latest series – The Only Way is Essex, using QR Codes to tease and tantilise the audience.  These codes have continued to make appearances on both The Only Way is Essex which will continue to run throughout 2011.  Read the original post here

10.  British Library

The final entry in this year’s UK Top 10 QR Code Advertisers goes to the British Library.  Again during one of our many trips to London, this one was spotted on the platform of Bank Underground station.

Research tells us that the platform is actually 61 meters underground and unlike some underground train services, London has NO internet service! Media placement has to be an integral part of any advertising campaign and this particular campaign failed beyond belief not just because of the fact that the QR Code resolved to a Desktop Website, but also because of the physical position of the QR Code itself.  When you view platform based posters, they sit approximately 15cm from the platform floor itself, which is usually dirty and generally not somewhere you’d want to lie down to snap a pic of a QR Code, no matter how compelling the creative or copy!  So, if you were willing to lie on a dirty platform, make a complete fool of yourself, snap a camera shot of a funny looking matrix like bar code, curse about not being able to get an internet signal, then maybe this ad is better than we give it credit for.  However, we doubt it..

We appreciate there are a number of negatives raised in this post, but whilst it has been a good year for QR Codes in the UK, we’ve still got a long way to go.  We hear too often that global brands don’t need any help with QR Codes, after all, “all you need to do is download a QR Code from the web, slap it on an ad – job done….”

When QR Codes are used properly and the issues raised above are countered, they have the potential to deliver stunning, engaging and valuable content to an audience which is going through a growth explosion.  Mobile is the future, so let’s all make a New Year’s resolution and agree to treat delivery channels like QR Codes with some respect and consider content and delivery in the same way as you would any other form of advertising.

[tweetmeme source= “QRazystuff” only_single=false]

Following our “Building a Music Brand with QR Codes” post, we have continued to track the incredible success of the UK’s latest music sensation, Labrinth.  If you haven’t heard of Labrinth yet, you certainly will do.  He has raced into the UK charts with his single release ‘Let the Sun Shine’ , currently occupying No. 2 spot in the UK  iTunes download chart.  He’s destined to top the charts within the next week, as the single, which was officially released at the weekend gets more play time on the UK’s radio stations.

Labrinth originally came to our attention, having come across the pre-launch social media campaign, devised by London based Digital Marketing agency, Punktilio.  The campaign stood out, as it centred around the use of QR Codes in the creation of the Labrinth brand and the use of QR Codes across the social media platforms like Facebook, MySpace, YouTube & Twitter.  As an aside, we reported that at the beginning of September, Labrinth had attracted 316,413 channel views on his YouTube site – this figure has now rocketed to a staggering 1,293,800, proving the awesome power of Social Media in today’s modern world of marketing a musician’s brand.

The advertising campaign for Labrinth’s single hit the streets of London at the weekend, with a massive urban ad campaign using QR Codes once again.  All across London, we saw Labrinth posters featuring QR Codes, which resolved to a specific page that offered free downloads from the Labrinth web site..  They appeared in every conceivable place from pedestrian crossings to shop windows.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

This form of urban advertising is a radical move for the UK music industry, but one that fits perfectly with the Labrinth brand and also with his already massive fan base.  It’s widely recognised that there is a natural fit with the youth market and their use of Mobile technology, which adds significant weight to the Love Affair between Music and QR Codes.

It was also great to see Labrinth using QR Codes as a response mechanism on his official poster advertising as well.  If you look closely enough, you’ll see a QR Code (with instructions) on the bottom left hand corner of this poster (Click image to enlarge).

QRazystuff.com is really excited about this brave foray into the use of Mobile Bar Codes by the music industry.  There are significant opportunities for the world’s music industry to embrace the youth market through their communications channel of choice ‘Mobile’ .  QR Codes, and perhaps more importantly update-able QR Tags can deliver new and exciting means of brands engaging with their fans via the Mobile channel.

Labrinth is not only known as a leading Music producer and solo artist, but has also made the headlines recently, as one of the coolest fashion icons in the music industry.  He recently appeared at London Fashion Week and has been quoted as “implementing uniqueness into his day to day wear”.  The ‘uniqueness’ comment is also reflected in his management’s approach to advertising as well.

If Labrinth’s management team wished to extend the use of QR Codes and fashion, we’ll be waiting by the phone for that merchandising deal!  We’ve been quoted before in our Blog promoting the idea of musicians using QR Tagged clothing or other merchandise to not only promote a unique style of merchandising, but also providing a means of promoting targeted messaging to a loyal fan base. Wait…. is that the phone ringing?

Meantime, “Let the Sun Shine”…

P.S  When Labrinth’s management team want to get in touch, full contact details are on our web site

[tweetmeme source= “QRazystuff” only_single=false]

We could really do with some creative input from anyone reading this post…  One of the fun ways in which QR Codes have been used in the wild is as part of Scavenger/Treasure hunts, but there’s so much more we can do with a QRazystuff Tag.

As you can change the content of a QRazystuff Tag, you can create all manner of different and fun games or social interactions.

The QR Tag below can be updated from the QRazyClub members area of the QRazystuff.com web site, with whatever URL or message you want.  Not only that, but as you make the change on the web site, the code updates instantaneously.

As an experiment, we’ll be changing the content of this Tag daily for the next few days.  The same Tag is posted on our Facebook & MySpace pages, as well as being distributed around Twitter, so we’re hoping for quite a bit of social interaction and hopefully some QRazyGame ideas we can develop for our QRazyClub members.

If this experiment is successful, we’ll post some of the ideas on the Blog.

Feel free to post your ideas within the comments on this blog post, put them on the QRazystuff Facebook page or drop us a Tweet!

[tweetmeme source= “QRazystuff” only_single=false]

A major feature of the QRazystuff.com site and products is our customers unique ability to change the destination/content of their QR Tags.  Hot on the heels of the site launch last month, we’re delighted to announce the launch of the ‘Update your Tag’ feature as of today (16/9/2010).

Our QR Tags are for life!  So there’s no need to change the design or purchase a new T-Shirt or Hoodie, when you want to change the content of the QR Code on your garments, just simply visit the members section of the QRazystuff.com web site, login and then ‘Update your Tag’.

The next time your Tag is scanned, the content will have changed to whatever you want.  Update your Tag to reflect your mood, or promote your Social Media presence, or why not add your telephone number when out with the crowd.  The opportunities are endless and so much fun.

[tweetmeme source= “QRazystuff” only_single=false]

Online Fashion Store Launches with Wearable Social Media

Imagine pulling out your Mobile and using it as a scanner to download videos, pictures, the latest news story or even someone’s social media status. Well, welcome to a truly digital world, because we’re already there.

Combining this vision with fashion has lead to the launch of the UK’s first QR Code online clothing retailer – QRazystuff.com.  This high tech fashion is about to hit the streets of the UK in the form of personalised t-shirts and hoodies that interact with your mobile phone.

QRazystuff.com today launched its online shop, selling their very latest fashion range, which contain personalised QR Tags (2d barcodes), which when scanned by a mobile phone will launch the owners choice of online media on the viewers mobile phone.

The technology behind the range works with a host of mobile phone bar code apps, with each QRazystuff T-Shirt or Hoodie being unique to its owner.  A simple scan of the QR Tag will launch the phone’s web browser, directing the viewer to a web site, social media site or text based message of the owner’s choice.  What’s more, the owner can change the destination of their tag whenever they want via the QRazystuff.com web site.

The QRazystuff.com web site allows customers to add a strap-line to the clothing as well.  At the time of launch, QRazystuff will be offering some neat strapline designs as well as allowing the customer to write a witty strapline text of their own.

The possibilities for using these wearable tags are endless and pretty much down to the imagination of the owner.  As the content of the Tag can be changed, your clothing can even reflect your mood.  Members simply access the QRazystuff web site and update the content of their tag online, so one day the Tag might direct to your Facebook profile and the next to a YouTube video or picture you want to share with the world.

QRazystuff.com is the brainchild of UK based entrepreneurs, Martin Rides & Grant Bloomfield, who told us “having seen the explosion of these bar-codes in Japan over recent years and also seeing increased use of them in the US, we saw an opportunity to popularise them in fashion.  They are different and you certainly get noticed when out and about.  It’s also a fun way of displaying your personality or your online presence with the world.  We’re developing the web site, so that members of the QRazyClub can update their tag content whenever they like and also keep a track of how many times their tag has been scanned.  Our plans for the club, whilst under wraps at the moment include; QRazyClub mash ups and some cool real-life gaming ideas.”

There’s something quite appealing about this youth fashion..  The concept of owning your own Tag and having control over its content has the potential to explode in today’s tech savvy youth market.  The company has some grand plans for the coming months, with some high profile activity in the music industry as well as venturing into high street retail market. It is certainly one to watch!

__________________________________________________________________________________________

About QRazystuff Limited

QRazystuff is UK based start up internet clothing retailer working in the mobile phone technology sector. QRazystuff produces a range of personalised clothing, which interact with mobile bar code reader applications on mobile platforms such as; iPhone, Android, Blackberry and Windows Mobile amongst others.  QRazystuff products use 2d bar codes known as Quick Response Codes (QR Codes) at the heart of the technology.  These bar codes were developed by Denso Wave in the mid 1990’s for car part tracking within the Toyota car manufacturing operations.  They have since been used in wide scale advertising by the likes of Google, Pepsi UK and Nike.  QRazystuff.com has been designed using Cloud based computing technologies at its core and offers a variety of unique services to its members, including the ability to change the content & ultimate web destination of the owners Tag and also monitor scan metrics via an online membership dashboard.

Reader Download

To get a QR Code reader send a SMS (text message) containing i-nigma to: +44 7797 882325 and you will be sent the link to the software.  Or Visit http://www.mobile-barcodes.com/qr-code-software/

[tweetmeme source= “QRazystuff” only_single=false]

Yes, it’s finally arrived!  9 months of research, tests, web site development,  integration of affiliate’s systems and a whole host more testing and we now have the world’s first (probably) QR Tag merchandise shop.

QRazystuff.com will be officially launched at the Music4Life festival in our home town in Sudbury, Suffolk on Saturday 7th August 2010.  It’s going to be an amazing day, that can only likened to the birth of your first child….

A passionate meeting between the two QRazystuff partners, resulted in 9 months of up’s and down’s and 2 days of a difficult labour (we’ll explain more another day)..  Our new born, strangely named “QRazystuff.com“, has a bright future with a team of loving supporters and a fan club and following running into many thousands.  Just incredible how Social Media has helped develop what was a crazy idea all those months ago.

We’ve taken a short video from the web site, so you can see what our new born has in store for you:

We’ll be opening the doors to the QRazyClub with FREE membership for the first 5,000 VIP members, so don’t waste any time and sign up today to help support QRazystuff.com.  Members of the club will join the QRazystuff family and as always get priority access to the club as it grows over time – no only in numbers but with some new and exciting new features.

Our recent London QR Mash up was something we’d like to repeat around the globe, but perhaps with some fun interactive gaming thrown in.  If you’re interested in helping spread the QRazystuff brand and want some support from the team, drop us a Tweet @QRazystuff or leave a message on the Facebook Fan Page

[tweetmeme source= “QRazystuff” only_single=false]