QR Code Misconceptions

Last Friday, Mobile Marketer posted an article about Toyota Motor Sales U.S.A.’s new promotional campaign, which features a SnapTag.

According to the article, Toyota chose SnapTag over QR Codes, because the company wanted to reach as broad of a mobile phone audience as possible. Where QR Codes only play to a smartphone audience, in a pure sense, SnapTags play to a smartphone audience and a feature phone audience. Smartphone users can download a SnapTag reader app to scan the Tag, and feature phone users can send a short code in order to receive a reply message with the intended content. What I can’t see in the Toyota SnapTag below are the instructions for locating and downloading the SnapTag reader app, but maybe this is written in the promotional piece itself and is not part of the Tag.

Besides the thought of trying to reach as broad of an audience as possible, the article goes on to say that, “Toyota was able to brand the SnapTags with icons and logos that are specific to the company, rather than a QR code that does not offer any brand affinity.” Please read that last part again, “rather than a QR code that does not offer any brand affinity.” Hello, Toyota marketing/creative and/or your agency, not sure where you are getting your information from, but QR Codes can be customized and do offer brand affinity. While generic QR Codes are just that, generic, there is the ability to customize a QR Code with a logo and/or corporate colors (i.e., brand affinity) (see QRArts, Warbasse Design). Why and where this misconception comes from, I have no idea.

A second QR Code misconception is stated in the article comes from Michael K. Nelson, interactive communications marketing manager at Toyota, “SnapTags give us the ability to deliver multimedia content like videos and other interactive content, as opposed to QR codes which typically drive consumers to a Web site.” Hello, Mr. Nelson, QR Codes need not always be linked to a website, they can be linked to multimedia content like videos and interactive content as well, it all depends on what the advertiser wants as the scan resolve.
Mr. Nelson also states, “Finally, SpyderLynk (the owners of SnapTag) gaves [sic] us the ability to measure our marketing performance to ensure we’re delivering what consumers want.” and makes it sound as though QR Codes cannot be measured. Mr. Nelson, in case you did not know, QR Codes can be tracked with the same amount of accuracy and detail as SnapTags, it just all depends on the QR Code platform being used.

Lastly, it’s great to see that a major brand such as Toyota is embracing the use of 2D technology, and it will be interesting to hear results if Toyota and/or SnapTag are so inclined to share, but the one thing I leave you with is this. I downloaded the SnapTag reader app and tried several times to “snap” the Tag, but it did not work. In all fairness, this Tag might not be ready for scanning but, if it is, Mr. Nelson might wish to rethink how “we’re delivering what consumers want” (i.e., a 2D code that works). (FYI…I believe the SnapTag above is ready for prime time, because it is the same Tag used on SpyderLynk’s website where they offer a demo of the technology.)


2 thoughts on “QR Code Misconceptions

  1. What a pity that Toyota (uncle of QR as shareholder of Densowave) did these mistakes.
    I remember also a full adv page from Toyota Italy on italian magazines and newspapers: an unreadable qr-code: too dense, too small and printed without the quiet zone.
    Even pasting,recreating the quite zone and zooming the code was useless.
    Another company paying for a direct code and relying on a (big) agency that have no idea of what a QR-Code is and can offer (Analytics)

  2. Pierluigi: Thank you for the comment. I had the same thought re: the uncle of QR. Regardless, I believe you are right…an agency probably driving the strategy with not much thought about the user experience. Also, mind you, I never even had the chance to see the scan resolve content to know if it is worthwhile or not.

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