How Not to Use a QR Code

Commonwealth Worldwide, a limousine rental company, recently placed this QR Code-based advertisement in Gotham magazine and the experience using the code is, quite frankly, miserable.

First, the QR Code cannot be easily scanned, because 1) the code is too small (should be no less than 1″ x 1″) and 2) the code is too dense (i.e., too much information is embedded in the symbol causing the use of too many modules). Second, even if the reader of the ad was able to scan the code, which I was only able to do after enlarging the image, he/she is given nothing more than a reservations telephone number, email address, web address and physical address for the company. That’s all, just vCard type of data which is why the code is too dense and too difficult to scan.

Beyond that, there is no call to action associated with the code, let alone the ad itself, no code description or instructions, no information about where the code will lead the reader, need I continue?

There’s plenty the company could have done via the QR Code to get the most out of the ad spend and deliver a truly meaningful customer experience, but my guess is that the company either went about the development of this ad on their own without conducting any 2D research or doing any 2D homework, or the marketers and creatives that were involved were just poorly informed. Either way, this is a perfect example of how not to use 2D technology.

2D Barcode Litmus Test: FAIL


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