Phoenix Mills QR Code: When to give up on a technology.

Two days back I was visiting the mall at Phoenix Mills, Lower Parel, Mumbai. While in the lift I saw this information poster behind the lift attendant’s chair. I could’t help noticing the misplaced QR code. I am sure this was placed there by their advertising/design agency without giving much though about what are QR codes and how they are used. See for yourself…

QR-Code

The much loved QR codes (by the digital marketing community, at least) never really gained popularity in India. Although I don’t have numbers to support this statement, I don’t remember seeing even one person pointing a phone camera at a QR code in a public place.

The love and care (!) taken while designing the above mentioned poster shows the importance the marketers themselves are placing upon QR codes. And they are not in the wrong. Here are two articles that discuss the decline of QR codes in detail:

http://www.mobilemarketer.com/cms/news/software-technology/15222.html

And this one from Forbes is from 2012!

http://www.forbes.com/sites/alextaub/2012/12/06/qr-codes-are-dead-long-live-qr-codes-a-conversation-with-scans-founder-garrett-gee/

Digital marketing community has always been wide eyed about new technology and eager to embrace it in their recommendations. I remember a creative director screaming “Augmented Reality!” in every other brainstorm in an agency. (so we will assume that every customer has a webcam and a printer and will have the patience to see some dancing 3 dimensional images pop up and be delighted by it).

Any promotional technology that does not use the tools and skills that the consumers already possess, or have acquired while getting some other task done, will remain largely unused. Whereas the easy ones (such as clicking a picture of an ad to get product brochure downloaded) will have a better chance at sticking around.

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One comment

  1. Indeed! The most basic requirements for QR codes to be used properly are:
    1. a smartphone
    2. a QR code reader app
    3. an education, and not just a 100gm gold chain arnd ur neck

    Given that all the three co-existing is such a rare occurrence in most parts of the world, QR codes were just a fad for the nerds. Except in S.Korea and Japan, of course. But jeez, they use neon lights in their toilets, so they don’t count!


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