Beginning of QR video

QR Codes Aren’t Just For Print

Gee Ranasinha Marketing 3 Comments

KEXINO mobile-optimized site

                Scan me!

You probably already know about QR codes. You can’t really escape them from at the moment – they seem to be everywhere.

QR Codes are those square 2D barcodes (right) that came about in 1994, and that the Japanese have been using for about the past fifteen years. However, because mobile technology in Europe and the US has only recently caught-up, QR codes seem to be enjoying something of a revival lately. Listen to most US-based marketers and you’d be forgiven for thinking that they’ve just invented the things.

Printing companies are one of the biggest fans of QR codes – and it’s no wonder. QR codes not only bridge the communications gap between ink-on-paper (or maybe that should be “toner-and-substrate”) and the internet. Their current “flavor of the month” status is helping to make print relevant again in a world where marketers are increasingly spoiled for choice in finding the most relevant communication medium for their target audience.

Unfortunately the vast majority of QR code-based campaigns are painfully ineffective, since it often seems to me that the the thinking behind them didn’t really progress much further than “Hey, let’s use a QR code to get people to our website.” As with many new technologies, we have to wait until the novelty has worn off before we see some creativity or innovation, and and idea of the potential of the medium. Examples such as barcodes for buses, or the virtual supermarket.

So, QR codes can be great in print. But QR codes don’t have to be printed.

Take a look at the video below (if you can’t see it, then click here). It’s an experiment combining a QR code with 3D animation, post-production motion graphics, and an eerie, dramatic soundtrack – all connected to a mobile-optimized website.

Of course, to get the full effect you need to have a QR code reader app on your mobile device as, at the moment, none of them ship with one built-in (Why? Who knows).

Here are some links to free QR code readers for various mobile devices:

iOS (iPhone / iPod Touch / iPad 2): Scan
Android: QuickMark (QuickMark is also available for iOS, but I think that Scan is a far better app)
Windows Mobile: i-nigma (also available for iOS and Android)

About the Author
Avatar for Gee Ranasinha

Gee Ranasinha

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After founding a successful media production firm, Gee became worldwide director of marketing for a European software company. As well as CEO of KEXINO he's an author, lecturer, husband, and father; and one hell of a nice bloke. He lives in a world of his own in Strasbourg, France, tolerated by his wife and young son. Find out more about Gee at

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Comments 3

  1. Avatar for Gee Ranasinha

    Um, well, okay – so, you made me bust out my smart phone, launch my QR Code reading application to scan your QR Code that is displayed in a video, and this then takes me to a video that displays on my very small smart phone screen. 

    How is this somehow better than just offering a link to the video right here, where I can watch it on my larger screen and listen with better speakers ?

    When I read “But QR codes don’t have to be printed.” – I was expecting to learn about a wonderful new way that a QR code – that was somehow displayed on a web page – gave me a better experience on my smartphone.

    Didn’t get that here.

  2. Avatar for Gee Ranasinha

    Thanks for taking the time to leave a comment, Mike. Much appreciated.

    Of course you’re right in that I could have simply posted a link directly within the article.  The point of my post was to show an example of how QR codes could be used outside of a print-based application, using moving pictures to gain viewer attention and following through with a website that has been optimized for viewing on a mobile device. It’s my “proof of concept” piece, more than anything else. QR codes can just as well be used on TV, in video games – and 101 other areas where print doesn’t get a look-in.

    The point is that the print industry doesn’t ‘own’ QR codes. I get the impression that some printers feel that they can sleep soundly in the beds for the next few years, as their clients will continue to need them – to print their QR code-embedded materials. My contention is that “it ain’t necessarily so.”

    Sorry that you found the mobile experience wanting. The direct link to the video is at Go ahead and crank-up the volume!


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