Has death breathed life back into the QR code?

The poor old QR code has few friends. No matter where you look there are rumours of its demise. But are these rumours greatly exaggerated?

The QR code seems to have suffered from the same bad PR that dogged the Beta video cassette in the 1980s.
It has never been cool.

Strange then that it has thrown up one of the most original and clever pieces of experiential marketing that I’ve seen in a long time.
This gem of an idea worked for Korean shopping store Emart.

It increased sales, increased membership and was covered extensively by the press and social media channels.
The reasons for this are obvious.

It’s fun.
It’s 100% original.
It’s memorable.
It’s repeatable.
It’s filmable and photographable – so social media friendly.
It’s easy to understand.
Which all together make it very PRable.

Quite rightly this activity picked up an award at Cannes 2012.

Shoppers scanning 'Shadow' QR code

Shoppers scanning ‘Shadow’ QR code

Of course, this is only one small piece of activity. But as the QR critics sharpen their knives, it’s worth looking at the stats.

Scan, the market-leading App, has been downloaded 25 million times and is being used to scan roughly 27 million codes a month. In other words QR codes appear to be in rude health.

And ironically, death may actually come to the QR code’s rescue.

Digital Legacys, a US company, is installing QR codes on headstones.

QR code on headstone

QR code on headstone

So next time you visit a loved one’s grave, or simply find yourself wandering past a cemetery, you’ll be able to whip out your smartphone, scan the QR code, and watch text, images and video bring that person’s history to life.

Dare I say it, great news for obituary writers.

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