Washington D.C. Campaigns Promoting With QR Codes
What do bus stops, public libraries and the Washington Capitals all have in common? They all use QR codes! A QR code – short for Quick Response – is a barcode that, when scanned with a smartphone, either takes the phone’s browser to an embedded URL or displays an encoded image.
According to comScore Inc., over 14 million Americans scanned a QR code as of June 2011. That figure accounts for 6.2 percent of mobile users, and over half of them are between the ages of 18 and 35 years.
QR codes are now becoming prolific in urban areas. Washington D.C. has expanded its use of QR codes in both public and privately owned sectors.
QR Arts partnered with OCTO labs to bring D.C. QR codes on buses and at bus stops. These codes allow passengers to immediately access bus schedules, and comment or tweet traffic status updates.
Washington D.C. has also made QR codes part of its public education endeavors. QR codes at D.C. Regional Libraries allow users (especially students) to instantly download library hours and contact information to their phones. The library also provides a QR code that will direct users to an online location where they can submit suggestions and comments. This provides an efficient and mobile-friendly alternative to the library's physical suggestion box.
The Smithsonian Natural History Museum utilized a QR code for its “MEanderthals” exhibit about Neanderthals. The code took museum-goers to a URL that allowed them to upload a photo of themselves to see how they would have looked 30,000 years ago.
The Washington Capitals hockey team will also join the band of D.C. QR code users. The team’s marketing department has decided to use the codes for the first time during the 2011-2012 season. The QR codes have already proven to be a successful metric when included in traditional direct mail campaigns.
Want to try using QR codes for your business? Start by thinking about what you print. Consider placing a QR code on your personal business cards and on all literature about your business. You can also buy ad space in print publications like magazines, newspapers, and signs. QR codes encourage consumer participation, something that print advertising has recently lacked.
Have you scanned a QR code lately? Which one caught your eye?