QR code fails

We all remember the sense of accomplishment we felt the first time we scanned a QR code with our smart phone. The technology looked like something out of a sci-fi movie and allowed us to finally use an otherwise useless function of our expensive smart phone, making us feel less guilty about its purchase.

Just like Mona Lisa’s facial expression, QR codes retain their enigmatic appearance until we unlock their coded messages with our smart phones. Advertising people are finding new ways to creatively use QR codes. Some of these are smart, some others aren’t. Since Strategic Communications first used a QR code in an advertising campaign in Malta, not all of those who followed our steps have been clever enough to understand that there are certain circumstances where using a QR code simply doesn’t make sense.

The typical instance is the QR code embedded in a billboard located on a road subject to intense road traffic and with no pedestrian access. In order to read a QR code, your mobile should be allowed a couple of seconds to focus on the image and process the information contained in it. This means that factors such as environmental light and the smart phone camera resolution come into play. If you are in a moving car, unless your smart phone uses alien technology and your hand is as firm as that of a sniper, there is no chance that you will manage to lock on a QR code printed on a billboard (we have even seen QR codes printed on A4 posters and affixed to lamp posts on Regional Road!).

So, the bottom line here is that embedding a QR code in a billboard is perfectly fine, as long as pedestrians can stop safely in front of it to use their smart phones. Another problem arises when one decides to print a QR code in a newspaper. The printing quality of the media (usually inferior to that of a magazine) may cause the QR code to become unreadable.

The following gallery will provide you with examples of rather out of the box uses for QR codes.

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