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QR Codes Are Alive and Well and Living in China

In China, those checkerboard-like codes are enjoying a renaissance.
That’s thanks to WeChat, Tencent’s hot mobile app, which has 272 million monthly active users and features a QR code scanner. WeChat blends elements of Facebook, Instagram and WhatsApp, and it’s branching into e-commerce.
QR codes – which let people scan a code using their smartphone to enter contests, connect with brands on social media or buy products — have long been prominent in Japan and South Korea.
When WeChat started pushing QR codes in China, suddenly a technology dating back to 1990s Japan had new potential, and some wondered if Western advertisers had missed something.
“We’re always pursuing new technologies, but we shouldn’t be so dismissive of old ones – sometimes all we need is to find a new use for those technologies to give them a new lease of life,” said Kestrel Lee, executive creative director of Zeno Asia, who points out that RFID or radio frequency identity technology now used in tagging retail goods was first used during World War II to identify aircraft.
One likely reason for QR codes’ success in China, the world’s No. 1 smartphone market, is that many consumers are more accustomed to mobile internet than desktop computers. To them, using a phone to scan a code comes more naturally than typing a web address.
Numbers on usage are hard to come by, but mobile coupon company Imageco tallied 113.6 million QR codes scanned in China in October 2013, up more than 38% from the month before.
Some in China use personal QR codes to identify themselves on social media. The codes are also at the heart of a price-comparison app called Wochacha, with 140 million users.
Western brands feature them prominently. Shanghai car lovers scanned a QR code for a chance to test drive an Audi Q3; runners use them to join a Nike+ running club in their area.
We-Chat’s rival, e-commerce giant Alibaba, turned to QR codes to encourage offline-to-online shopping during a mega-sale on Nov. 11. People visited brick-and-mortar stores, selected purchases and scanned QRs code to stash items in their online shopping cart ahead of the sale.
A month later, during a Dec. 12 shopping event, Alibaba’s Taobao marketplace put a QR code on its website. Shoppers scanned the code 200,000 times in just one minute to try to win a lottery ticket, Alibaba said.
As in the West, QR codes don’t work unless the creative is good and people have an incentive to scan them. Sticking a QR code onto an ad isn’t enough.
More sophisticated augmented reality technologies might break through in China. But as long as WeChat backs QR codes they are here to stay, and there are efforts to beautify them.
Israel-based Visualead, which has a heavy China focus and won a startup competition here, lets businesses and designers blend QR codes with photos or art. It also can integrate QR codes into videos or animation for digital screens.
“Visual QR codes don’t have to be static, they can be animated — or even embedded in a video — to include a visual call to action, like someone inviting you to scan or an avatar winking at you,” said Oded Israeli, Visualead’s VP for marketing. “Animation is very popular in China, and we think it will bring another edge to QR codes.”
Via: AdAge

Harry's Bar Customers Use Bottle Message to Communicate

Harry’s Bar in Singapore introduced ‘Bottle Message’ to make it easy for shy locals to meet each other at the bar. QR code tags on the beer bottles let you enter a message when you installed the app and scanned the code. Once the message was written, the tag was flipped over, placed over another bottle and sent to the admired person. Turning a beer bottle into a new form of communication caused beer sales to double at the bar.
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Via: psfk

Coca Cola Light's interactive art exhibition

To support the positioning of Coca Cola light as an innovative and modern brand, and generate WOM and positive sentiment in earned media,  Posterscope Iberia created an interactive art exhibition in 11 galleries around Madrid, Barcelona and San Sebastian.   The exhibition, which was produced in conjunction with several Spanish Artists, headed by Marlango,  featured interactive pieces featuring large QR codes created using Coca Cola Bottle tops.  Participants could scan the work with their smart phone to receive exclusive content.
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Register to vote via NFC

Rock the Vote used Blue Bite to create QR and NFC-enabled posters that encouraged the youth to vote prior to the US elections.  Smartphone users could register to vote straight from the poster site as well as receive details about where to vote on Election Day.
Via: Upstart business journal

Kit Kat NFC Enabled Posters

Kit Kat’s  ‘We Will Find You’ promotion involves six chocolate bars fitted with a GPS tracker which when activated alerts a team who will track down the winner and hand over a £10,000 prize. OOH supports the activity, 3,000 6 sheets have been fitted with NFC and QR Touchpoints that allow users to interact with the promotion, get live updates showing how many bars still remain and link to a secondary competition via Facebook. Posterscope, working in conjunction with Mindshare, JWT and Pragmatica delivered this campaign with JCDecaux, Clear Channel and Primesight.

Heineken created personalised QR codes at a music festival

At the Heineken Open’er festival, festival goers could create customised QR code stickers that attendees could wear and scan to spark up a conversation.  The codes became social lubricants to make the concertgoing experience more social and fun.  5,000 codes were created by attendees.
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Via: jonathanmildenhall.tumblr.com