Top 10 QR Codes Of 2011

Choosing the ‘Top 10’ QR Codes is of course highly subjective, even which criteria to use to make the selection is debatable. What I have done here is pick not only those that were successful in their own way but also those which I hope will give Marketers food for thought and even perhaps some ideas for a future campaign. Here they are in no particular order and click on the titles if you would like to read the original post….

In game advertising with QR CodesHomefront

I have included Homefront not only because of the 30,000 scans in 2 days but because I think the full potential of QR Codes embedded in video games has yet to be fully appreciated by marketers. In-game advertising (IGA) is far from being a novel concept but it seems to me that a highly targeted market and the ability to change a QR Code’s destination depending on factors such as the time it is scanned could be used to great effect.

QR Code Coin

The Royal Dutch Mint’s idea to put a QR Code on legal tender was certainly original but there was not much originality in having the code resolve to a simple ‘Pairs’ type game. I still think that my idea at the time that National Mints could put QR Code coins into mass circulation and auction weekly leases on the QR Code redirect is a good one!

Cognac and Kaws

This is a great example of a successful international QR Code campaign and also a bit of a puzzle. Just why this combination of Cognac and Kaws proved to be such an attraction to the QR Code scanning public is a mystery. However with 600,000+ scans it was very successful and just goes to show that there is plenty left to discover about the world of QR Codes.

QR Code shopping wallQR Code Shopping at the Subway Station

This virtual grocery store with products labeled with QR Codes in a subway station in Seoul, South Korea was the origin of the QR Code shopping walls that are beginning to appear in bus shelters and stations everywhere. I think there has been a realization that rather than display hundreds of items there is an optimum number of items to display, probably 10 to 20, like these top toys from Sears and Kmart or these hot DVDs from HMV.

Marriage Proposal QR Code

I just had to include Jerry Harrison’s marriage proposal for all the romantics out there among 2d-code readers. Jerry’s story shows that what the QR Code resolved to and the effort he put into producing the content won the day, not the QR Code itself. This should be the QR Code Marketers mantra.

QR Code Film Festival

The idea that a film festival could take place on demand and simultaneously in multiple locations throughout the world was one of the great QR Code ideas of 2011. The world’s first QR Code film festival did not get the publicity it deserved but with a sponsor and more PR this highly original concept would have been an outstanding success rather than just an interesting novelty.

Mercedes-Benz QR Code Race

This variation of a QR Code scavenger hunt had a new and very interesting feature that is well worth study by QR Code marketers. To participate in the race required the QR Codes to be scanned by the competition app. However using geolocation the app’s QR Code scanner activated only when a competitor was in a specific area. Using this feature in novel ways could be a key to substantial user engagement.

QR Code haircutQR Code Haircut

Any campaign that delivers an increase of 400% in website traffic and reaches an estimated 10 million people through PR with zero paid media investment has to be called great success. QR Code haircuts have been tried since but either fail because someone didn’t realize that a 21 x 21 modules haircut is difficult but 29 x 29 is almost impossible or because of limited PR.

QR Code Cows

Monsieur Le Béhoc’s QR Coded cows put a rural French farmer and his small farm shop into the international spotlight almost overnight. The interesting aspect of this campaign was that the QR Codes were practically impossible to scan but it was where they were placed that caused the buzz. QR Codes like this, that were not really meant to be scanned successfully, were a reoccurring theme throughout 2011. If you haven’t seen this approach before take a look at these examples appearing on bikini bottoms and on the roof of a warehouse.

Safe Sex Campaign

Aimed at the under twenties, not only did this clever campaign produce positive results but it was obviously great fun. Collecting anonymized data via a mobile app and presenting the analysis in print, as long as it is humorous, is yet another tactic that is underexploited in my opinion.

11 thoughts on “Top 10 QR Codes Of 2011”

  1. The ad that made me think “thank god QR code was invented” was the ‘Heinz’ QR Code Ad at the back of the ketchup bottle or the “Wounded Warrior Project”.

    Aside from money, personalized thank you messages were also sent to veterans via the QR code.

    Great placement, context (while people were waiting), and great reason to scan.

  2. Celine, I agree with your choice of the Heinz ketchup code campaign.

    Clearly the best place to engage people is where they eat, and spend time waiting.

    Note to advertisers: codes work, but placement is important. A billboard may be cool, but not many folks will try to engage with it, since they are on the move. The time to engage with a user is when they are stopped.

  3. Hey, Roger. I saw your comment on Mashable and it looked like you really know your stuff when it comes to QR codes.

    As mentioned on the Mashable article, we’re using QR codes to provide clues for an iPad scavenger hunt we’re doing to promote the launch of my new book “Go Mobile” co-authored with Jeanne Hopkins of HubSpot.

    You can check it out on the link below. Perhaps it’ll be a candidate for your 2012 list?


    — Jamie Turner
    Founder, 60 Second Marketer
    Co-Author, Go Mobile

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