QR Code Scanning In The Rain

This idea is extremely ingenious but I have my doubts that it ever worked as well as is claimed. Ogilvy & Mather Group spray painted Hong Kong streets with QR Code advertising that only shows up when the pavement is wet (video below). Using water repellent spray meant that when it rained commuters could see the message “It’s sunny in the Philippines” and a QR Code that resolved to discount deals from airline Cebu Pacific.

In the video the agency claim that online bookings increased 37% which is difficult to believe for two reasons. Firstly the lack of contrast will make the QR Code difficult, if not impossible, to scan in most conditions. Secondly the QR Code uses a Google short URL which enables us to see the scanning statistics and the total number of scans showing is only 89 (screenshot below).

However the campaign may have been a success through press and TV reporting, much like this QR Code haircut from 2011.

Google url shortner stats showing 89 scans

3 thoughts on “QR Code Scanning In The Rain”

  1. Hi

    What us the best way to use SQRC for anti-counterfeiting ? If public data is used as level-1 information to consumers for authentication then the counterfeiters can use same data and display same result in counterfeited products.

    Is there a way to add encryption or scramble some data for authentication. WE can not expect end consumer to have BHT Scanners to decrypt. Alternatively is there special readers in lieu of Denso scanners.


  2. When scanned on a public device the SQRC behaves just like any other QR Code, resolving to the destination intended by the creator of the code.

    The private data however, is protected by a password which must be hard coded into the scanning device and must be recognized before the private data is revealed.

    SQRC is not meant to be used to inform consumers as to whether the product is counterfeit or not. It is for the use of manufacturers.

  3. Thanks. Our idea is to have Holograms + SQRC as TAX Stamps. The buyers of Liquor gets to know the product details and if they want to know the originality of the purchase, they Should be able to check using an APP to decode.

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