The first time I saw a QR code was on the corner of a Lion King poster in a New York City subway. Though I had no clue what it was, my friend eagerly whipped out her BlackBerry, ready to give her recently downloaded QR code reader a test drive.
QR Codes (short for Quick Response Codes) like the one I saw on the subway popped up everywhere in 2011, from subways to product packaging, magazines to department stores, and even on cookies. It was so popular that it seemed like brands slapped codes on everything without thinking about how it would be used and its value to the shopper.
For example, Austin-based restaurant Juan in a Million sports a QR code on their dine-in menu. When scanned, the code takes you to a Google map of the restaurant’s location. How does this bring value to the customer if they’re already there? As awareness of QR Codes grew, I felt as though many brands were misusing them. I saw a QR code on a highway billboard once. How am I supposed to scan that at 65 mph? The many QR code failures frustrated me. However, one year later, I think that some brands are finally getting it right.