TIME uses Branded QR Code

TIME magazine continues to use QR codes to promote and connect readers with content on its website. This two-page advertisement, which features a customized QR code, promotes the publication’s latest project called TimeFrames.

Time QR Code

When I scanned the code, the regular, as opposed to mobile optimized, version of the magazine’s website appeared and so did a pop-up window with an advertisement for, of all things, mortgage rates. This is the first time I have seen a sponsored code resolve and I hope it is the last, because an interruption like this is not what 2D is all about.

Time QR Code

Aside from the pop-up issue, there is not much really going on with this campaign other than delivering a reader to additional content, which does have value and merit in its own right. 2D does not always have to be about making an offer or transacting a sale. One thing that does come to mind when viewing the resolve web page, however, is that there is no easy way for a reader to share the content with someone who may also be interested in the subject matter. Why not create a share or email button on the page?

In regard to the QR code itself, with plenty of space to provide additional information, I believe TIME could have said a bit more than “Simply scan the QR code with your smartphone.” Why not help a reader who may be new to 2D understand that a code reader app is needed first and here’s where you can locate and download one. Why companies continue to make assumptions around the use of an emerging technology puzzles me. Education will speed adoption.


3 thoughts on “TIME uses Branded QR Code

  1. Agreed. With QR codes, context is king. It's not just about shoving potential customers to a home page. As this evolves, and mobile marketers get more savvy, there better usages of QR and other 2D codes (e.g. Mircosoft Tag) The other benefit will come when QR readers come standard on all smart phones. Right now, it's like back in the day when you had to install Navigator on a computer to go online. That should all change as the next wave of web enabled phones hit the market. According to Nielsen, that's supposed to be 50% of the market by this Christmas. Nice post!

  2. Exactly. I actually just found out about the QR code while reading Time magazine. I was going to try the code thing out but had no clue how to scan it “with my smartphone” as it said to do. So of course I Googled it and stumbled upon this site. And now I know.

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