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CAN PRINT GO MOBLE? Print advertising is alive and well—but not without challenges since mobile devices are taking over more and more of our time.
How do you get a reader to act on a newspaper ad? Every advertiser hopes that the url listed in its ad will be typed in on a computer, or that someone will actually pick up the phone and call the 800 number. It's still working, but probably will diminish in effectivenss in the future.
In this newsletter, we are looking at some of the solutions that already exist — specifically the expanding use of QR-Codes. At Holtermann Design LLC we're closely following this development and we believe QR-Codes are the perfect medium to bridge the gap between web and print.
As graphic designers we welcome the challenge in visualizing QR-Codes in our designs. Knitting patterns for grandma? (She's probably too busy on Facebook.)
Through our newsletters, blog, Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIN, YouTube, and website we'll continue to keep you up-to-date on our findings and ideas.
Our philosophy is to try it out ourselves, measure results, and share with others. A "chain" of sweepstakes will be our first test – soon to be announced.
Michael Henrik Holtermann, CEO
Introduction to QR-Codes
DEFINITION AND NAME: QR-Codes are two dimensional barcodes (datamatrix). The acronym QR is derived from Quick Response, created by Denso Wave to implement high-speed decoding.
ORIGIN: QR-Codes originated in Japan and have recently become popular within the Middle East, Europe, and the U.S.
MOBIILE PHONES: The most commercial use for QR-Codes is within telecommunications with mobile phones as the biggest driver. With this expanding technology QR-Codes seem perfect for bringing mobile phone users onto the mobile web. QR-Codes can store all kinds of data, although the most common is still URLs (Universal Resource Locators). This allows offline publications and items such as magazines, newspapers, business cards, signs, and even t-shirts to interact with mobile devices.
HOW THEY WORK: Most mobile phones have a built-in digital camera which, along with a decoding software (app), scans the QR-Code instantly triggering an action on the mobile phone: Connect to a web address; Download a MP3; Dial a telephone number; Prompt your email client with a sender address.
DATA CAPACITY: QR-Codes handle all of sorts of data, including numbers, alphabetic characters, Kanji, Kana, Hiragana, symbols, binary, and control codes. A total of 7,089 characters can be encoded in one symbol. (The typical barcode can only hold 20 digits.)
POSITION: QR-Codes are readable omnidirectionally (360 degrees) using the three specific squares positioned in the corners of the symbol.
QR-CODE READERS: For available software and supported mobile phones, click here.
|City of New York Blanketed Times Square with Giant QR-Codes
(Originally posted online by Jennifer Van Grove June 10, 2010 as a part of Mashable's Internet Week New York Channel, presented by HP.)
To celebrate Internet Week 2010, the City of New York outfitted Times Square with giant QR-Code. Called "The City at Your Fingerprints," 11 New York agencies participated in the interactive billboard initiative.
Times Square denizens could use their smartphone barcode scanning app to scan the QR-Codes – which were featured in an animated sequence on the Thomson Reuters building in Times Square – and pull up information relating to agencies being featured, such as 311, NYC Department of Transportation, NYCulture Calendar, NYC Business Express, and City of New York Parks and Recreation.
Most of the QR-Codes directed scanners to websites for more info, some promised a free ringtone, or chance to win tickets to a Times Square viewing of the Tony Awards. According to the author, the QR-Codes didn't lead to optimized web experiences. However, comments posted to the blog were generally positivie.
These QR-Codes were certainly impressive to behold and were a nice first try from NYC Media, the agency behind the effort. Still we hope future endeavors will yield QR-Codes that provide scanners with much more exciting and mobile-friendly content.
|Calvin Klein's QR-Code Billboard in New York City
From Shoppingblog. Calvin Klein's billboard in New York City is a giant QR-Code. You need a smartphone to unscramble it. Gizmodo says the billboard shows a "steamy 40-second ad."
Lauren Indvik at Mashable writes, "Most U.S. citizens still do not own smartphones, and even those that do don't necessarily know what a QR-Code is or have the necessary scanning software to read it."
It is true that most people won't have the right type of phone or the technological know-how to even be able to see the actual ad. Calvin Klein would get more eyeballs with a regular ad. Maybe they are hoping that the interactive nature will get people talking and blogging and tweeting about the unusual billboard.
RL Magazine – Know The Code
Excerpts From the article "Know the Code," by Karen J. Bannan
Polo Ralph Lauren is also pioneering the use of QR-Code technology in the fashion field, using The US Open tennis tournament to kick off an initiative including billboards, banners, and print ads marked with QR-Codes connected to an e-commerce site where scanners can shop directly from their phones, view the collections, and even read this very article within RL Magazine.
The codes extend into personal advertising, too. Semacode is collaborating with Facebook to allow users to send people they meet a link to their online profile by having them scan a Semacoded "social card."
There are plenty more options on the way, especially as both Apple and Google, with its bar-coded Consumer Response Tag (CRT), come on board. Google is developing an open-source code reader called ZXing (still in testing), and third-party developer NeoMedia has already released a NeoReader for Apple's iPhone 3G.
Interested in using the codes but count yourself among the 250-million-plus American cell phone users who don't own an iPhone? According to Tobaccowala, you won't have to wait long, because the "wow" factor will help spread demand for codes very quickly. "People are communicating in voice and SMS," or short message service, he says. "They want a way to walk by a poster, take a photo of a code, and instantly get a movie trailer, or be able to pass a concert poster and scan a code and go to the Ticketmaster site. The industry is poised to get there, and it's going to start happening within the next six to twelve months." Or, in the case of Polo, today.
|QR-Codes Make Their Way to Travel Books
Originally post on Fun with Barcodes by Melina
The travel book Earthbound: A Rough Guide to the World in Pictures contains photographs from all around the world, each with their own QR-Code linking to the location of what's pictured in the photo via Google Maps where it's easy to see a satellite view of the image and bookmark the locations on your phone.
Adding QR-Codes to guidebooks is a big step for the QR-Code. One can expect more publishers to incorporate them, since many people still carry guide books when traveling. Rather than typing in the number for that historic café in Paris, it's more convenient to scan a code and have the information, maps, and directions at your fingertips without having to carry books and maps.
FOX TV Uses QR-Codes
In August, FOX Broadcasting Company announced that they would be using QR-Codes, known as FOX Codes, to deliver promotional and added show content for FOX fall programming. The FOX Codes appear in outdoor signage, print, on-air, and online. When scanned, they resolve to mobile websites, porviding insider content, videos, first-look photos, show secrets, cast interviews, and more. The FOX Codes focused on three shows, Lone Star, Fringe, and Glee.
Some comments have been made about FOX's presentation of the codes. In between on-air programs the codes are shown very briefly, without forewarning, no instructions, and not enough time to scan them.
The company website does have a link to downloadable apps, but the codes themselves are still hard to find. (In samples used, the codes are superimposed, and do not reflect FOX's campaign as such.)
While it makes perfect sense for FOX to make use of cross-channel promotion to build awareness of the FOX Code campaign, it seems they have fallen into too many pitfalls for this to be considered a model for success.
Selling Real Estate Using QR-Codes as a Tool
Welcome to the world of real estate QR-Codes. One inventive and good use of this technology is to help real estate agents connect with home buyers on their mobile phones.
When people scan the QR-Code posted in front of a house, they can view property details, photos, pricing, open houses, the real estate agent's other listings, contact info, and instant click-to-dial. Potential home buyers can leave feedback, email the listing to themselves, or even instantly calculate their expected mortgage. No one expects anyone to do away with the flier box completely, but this new technology opens up a whole new aspect to the home-selling process.
|Short Sightedness And Closed-Minded About QR-Codes in Norway?
Tuesday, August 17, 2010; By Alexander Viken
Erik Rossen of Digi.no wrote [on August 11] an article about a commercial initiative to try out QR-Codes in marketing. The background is that an open source company named "Already On" has created some sort of framework or integration with Barpoint Mobile's QR-Code solution. In itself, Rossen's article is interesting.
Viken endorses the use of 2D/3D barcodes for linking dynamic information to static objects. The potential is huge, both in commercial and non-commercial ways. Being able to buy movie or concert tickets, getting customer reviews, added information about a product, or as a commenter say – receiving real-time route information from bus or train on a station by scanning a barcode has value both from publisher and consumer points of view.
The readers comments to the article are funny, assuming these are people with at least above-average knowledge and understanding of computers, software, and online services; since they do read Digi.no – an online IT news magazine display, yet with such a lack of visionary trail of thoughts.
Viken questions if this is the reason for the low innovation rate in Norway? Kill it unless it has an instant economical or personal benefit.
Viken's favorite quotes are "The failure repeats itself" and "A big fail."
"Don't be a troll, bring something constructive to the discussion," Viken writes.
|| Videos about QR-Codes
There are lots of videos online dealing with QR-Codes. We've selected a few that are useful and/or entertaining.
TechTips | What are QR Codes anyway?
Shawntay Explains QR-Codes to a Coworker
QR-Code Badges for Busines
Do QR-Codes Work for Videos?
... But Is It Art?
Visuals artists of many stripes are delving into QR-Code imagery for inspiration.
Pet Shop Boys - Integral (JCRZ - QR Code Video Remix)
Time Lapse Making QR Code Amy Goodman Print
|Make QR-Codes Work for You
Ways of implemenging QR-Codes in your business strategies. [The word "scanner" is now used to designate both the scanning device and the user of that device.]
• On business cards: A fast and simple way to use QR-Codes for your own professional purposes is to place them on business cards. Generate a barcode that directs scanners to your online résumé, Facebook page, Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube, blog, and website to help new contacts find you or your business faster.
• On marketing materials: You've got fliers, brochures, programs, handouts, whitepapers, and a myriad of other materials in your media kit. Add QR-Codes to direct viewers to a particular how-to video, a Flickr photo set, Twitter, or point them to a mobile-friendly landing page that promotes a new campaign. For inspiration, check out what the Detroit Red Wings did with QR-Codes in their arena programs.
• In storefront windows: Google is sending out QR-Code window decals to top local businesses with Google Place Pages. If they don't send you one, use the idea and generate your own QR-Code to place in your window. You can use this code to encourage Fousquare checkins [Holtermannn Design will cover Foursquare in an upcoming Newsletter], point scanners to your Yelp profile, or simply invite customers to share memories in photo, video, or text form via Stickybits.
• For freebies: If you really want people to pay attention to your QR-Codes, make them good for something fun. Say you've placed a QR-Code decal in your storefront window, why not reward those who scan it with 10% off their purchase or a free pastry? Give them something to thank them for their patronage. Simply create a custom QR-Code for the freebie you want to offer. You could even get creative and hide the QR-Code offers online, like on your Facebook page or website, or somewhere inside your store.
THINGS TO REMEMBER: If you're going to use QR-Codes for marketing, you'll want to keep in mind that QR-Codes – and the apps that scan them – are still new to most people.
Yes, more and more people are starting to associate the codes with action, but it's too early to assume your customers will know what to do. Spell out how to scan the QR-Code, and instruct customers on where they can download scanner apps for their specific mobile device.
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Holtermann Design LLC
254 East 3rd Street, Suite 14
New York, NY 10009
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