Guinness, BBDO New York, GoDaddy, QR Codes And Longevity

This post revisits the Guinness glass QR Code story that went viral in May earlier in the year. It seems that some QR Codes last longer than others, depending I suspect on the medium on where they are published and how interesting they are. For example I posted on the longevity of the QR Code on the back of a book (L.A. Candy by Lauren Conrad) which still averages 500 scans/month even three years after publication.

A more striking example is the QR Code on the glass of Guinness which I wrote about in May this year. The story was picked up by the likes of BoingBoing , AdWeek and Mashable and very quickly went viral. Because the QR Code was encoded with a URL we can see the history of scans over the lifetime of the code (first chart below). Essentially it shows very little scanning activity for the first year of its life, then a sudden burst of activity followed by a gradual trailing off. Because of the chart’s scaling it’s not easy to see interesting features so I have represented the data in two new charts (below).

In the chart that shows the number of scans between April and June the viral nature of the story is clearly demonstrated as the QR Code is increasingly scanned from images seen on the web. Scanning QR Codes from images on the web is not a common activity(!) but there must have been many millions of eyeballs on the Guinness glass and the frequency of scans is a good proxy for the popularity of the story.

The chart that shows the number of scans between July and October is the more interesting in my opinion. For just over three months the QR Code has averaged a fairly constant 75-80 scans/day and shows no signs of diminishing. The QR Code still resolves, as it has done for over a year, to a GoDaddy domain parking page stuffed with Google Ads. It looks as if BBDO New York who were responsible for the original proof of concept ad are going to let this anomaly run and run. It could be worse, it could be Gunness going down the drain….

Chart of total QR Code scans from
QR Code scans from April to June
QR Code scans from July to October

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