A Load of Examples of QR Codes Done Wrong

As a follow up to my previous post, I thought it would be a good lesson to us all to take a look at how NOT to use QR codes.

There’s so much that goes into the back end of a QR code campaign. From the marketing, imaging, message and brand, to the very basics of where to place the code.

As a general rule of thumb, I recommend you follow these guidelines should you choose to embark on the ever precarious journey of the QR:

1. Make it easy to scan

Possibly the most obvious of all guidelines to ever be written. But yes, most marketers fail because of this very simple hurdle. Don’t place a QR code on the back of a moving vehicle and expect people to scan while driving (true story). Pick a location that stands out, gives people access to the Internet, and is easily accessible for them to reach out with their smartphone in hand. Arms length people, think arms length.

2. Your call to action

It’s simply not enough to put some random image and a code attached to it, perhaps with some vague copy that states “scan the code to find out more”. People are bombarded with ads and messages and calls to action every day, whether they’re aware of it or not. Be clear. Let them know what’s in store for them if they scan. You could even offer some sort of reward. A coupon, a discount, anything.

3. Get mobile-friendly

Remember that people scanning are on the go, and are using their phones. So you want to bring them to a mobile-friendly page. There’s nothing more frustrating for smartphone users than to be stuck on a desktop page on their phone that is difficult to navigate, requires zooming in and out and a lot of scrolling. You’re a smartphone user. Create a page that you would want to use.

That aside, let’s get to the fun part. QR codes that fail ;)

QR code fail

Remember earlier when I said not to put it on the back of a moving vehicle? Yeah. I like how it says “Scan with Care” too.

QR code fail 2

Now I’m far from the most technical savvy person on the planet, but even I know that placing a code behind a metal grill like that is going to mess up, well, the code. And it does. Completely unscannable. Genius.

QR code fail 3

Whoooooooosh… fail.

QR Code fail 4

A code so epic it’s worth dying for.

QR code fail 5

It’s above your head. And it spins. Why? Why not.

QR code fail 6

 I actually think this is a clever idea. The problem is that a code needs to be on a flat surface so the curve of the bottle makes this impossible to scan. Plus the shiny reflective glass also prevents the code from being scanned. All in all… fail.

QR code fail 7

Sigh. Probably a case of “everybody has one so we should add one too!”

QR code fail 8

… not really sure what to make of this…

QR code fail 9

As a marketer I’m appalled. As a man… :) ))

So there you have it. My picks on the best QR code fails so far. I hope it will give you something to think about the next time you decide to delve into the world of QR. Or else you might find your campaign on this list ;)

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