The One Reason Why QR Codes Failed

Stanley Tan
Jun 19, 2017 · 3 min read

It sucked.

The alternative is just way better and that alternative is Google.

With Google making it so easy for us to search for the things we want, scanning a QR code has to be 10 times easier than searching. Unfortunately, it is 10 times harder.

On top of that, most advertisements with QR codes don’t answer the question in their prospects mind of “What is in it for me?”

A harder to use technology than Google + terrible advertisements created just for the sake of using QR code in an ad = Fail marketing campaign.

Here are five examples.

Example #1 — Scan to get a map

Image for post
Image for post

Did it pass the Google test?
Nope, search “Map of Gotham City” and you’re done.

Did it pass the “What’s in it for me” test?
Nope, what map am I getting again?

Example #2 — Discover more of what?

Image for post
Image for post

Did it pass the Google test?
Nope, typing in the URL at the bottom right of the ad is easier than trying to scan a QR code of Tower Bridge.

Did it pass the “What’s in it for me” test?
Nope. Discover more of what? How will discovering more benefit me?

Example #3 — Zebra and Intel

Image for post
Image for post

Did it pass the Google test?
I don’t even know what this ad is about.

Did it pass the “What’s in it for me” test?
Nope. I don’t even understand anything about this ad besides Intel promoting their new chip which has better visuals and performance.

I don’t care about your chip. How can your chip make my life better? Stunning visuals aren’t going to do it when Intel’s past few chips, AMD, phone companies and monitor companies are saying the same thing.

Example #4 — Free Crosswords

Image for post
Image for post

Did it pass the Google test?
This ad is probably one of the better ones in this example but what is stopping 1st Bank from letting their customers search for “1st Bank crosswords” instead and creating a landing page where they can give out thirty crosswords instead of three.

Did it pass the “What’s in it for me” test?
Yes, we get a crossword puzzle if we scan the QR code.

Example #5 — What am I getting?

Image for post
Image for post

Did it pass the Google test?
I don’t even know what the ad is about.

Did it pass the “What’s in it for me” test?
If I’m a guy, what do I get when I scan your oversized QR code? Plus I would most probably have to walk to the street across to get a good scan of the code.

Recap

Welcome to a place where words matter. On Medium, smart voices and original ideas take center stage - with no ads in sight. Watch

Follow all the topics you care about, and we’ll deliver the best stories for you to your homepage and inbox. Explore

Get unlimited access to the best stories on Medium — and support writers while you’re at it. Just $5/month. Upgrade

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store