Kids collecting coins for UNICEF in lieu of chocolates on Halloween has been a tradition for more than sixty years, however in recent years it has taken a 21st century turn. Starting last year, the iconic boxes have been enhanced with Microsoft Tags, allowing potential donors to contribute digitally as well.
When scanned, the Tag leads to a form, where donors verify their information and desire to contribute. On their next phone bill, they will find their contribution in the form of a $10 charge.
This not only encourages larger contributions, but enables donation from those who don’t make a habit of carrying cash on hand.
To find more information, donate, or download materials to participate, visit UNICEFCostumeParty.org.
As if you needed another reason to spend time on your smartphone, Boston start-up LevelUp has leveraged QR codes to make it even more useful.
Diverting from their original Groupon-like business model, LevelUp has recently transitioned to an incentive driven payment system. Registered users link a credit card to their account, and launch an app on their phone to pay at participating restaurants, cafes, and stores. The app displays a unique QR code which is scanned at the register, allowing the user to choose the tip amount and track their spending. When spending benchmarks are reached, the user is rewarded with discounts on their purchases.
Employing the quick customization and versatility of QR, LevelUp has differentiated themselves in a market flooded with “social coupon” services, and provides an easy to use option with incentives for retailers as well as consumers. Not only does it push the envelope of what a coupon service can provide, but the angle from which a QR code can be used as well. This is a code that the user presents rather than scans themselves, making the conversation a two sided one.
LevelUp is currently available in San Francisco, New York, Philadelphia, and Boston, more information is available at TheLevelUp.com
You know your cupboards have finally crossed the line into bare, and you can’t go home without first acquiring something to replace the spiderwebs. But after a long day, the thought of stopping for a grocery run before collapsing into the waiting arms of the couch is loathsome. What if the mental list you’re making could be magically transformed into a bag on your doorstep without having to deviate a step from your commute? In South Korea, supermarket chain Tesco has harnessed the power of QR codes to make this possible. With the flash of a phone the often inconvenient and unavoidable task is drastically improved: grocery shopping.
For some lucky commuters in Seoul, Tesco has emblazoned the walls of their subway stop with images mimicking store shelves, on which each item bears a QR Code. When scanned, the item is added to a virtual shopping cart and can be purchased directly from the phone. Then, the items purchased are delivered to the shopper’s doorstep.
At this point, the majority of QR Codes have been employed to provide some novelty content or capture the user’s attention for a minute more than they would have offered it otherwise. However, grand projects such as this one show us how with the right innovation, QR has the ability to enable us to accomplish all sorts of feats we could previously only imagine.
Watch the complete video here
As summer approaches and the schools release their inmates, anxious parents everywhere are bracing for impact, and all of the potential pitfalls of that freedom– one of the most alarming on both sides being the lost child. We all remember the feeling, emerging from the dark recesses of the clothing rack only to find our parent has departed, realizing you’ve followed the wrong set of legs around the amusement park, or looking up from an engrossing distraction and finding you’ve wandered away. While leashes have been construed as inhumane, and microchipping children has yet to gain FDA approval, SafetyTat.com has come up with the next best solution to keeping track of wayward offspring.
For some time now, the company has been producing customized temporary tattoos emblazoned with an emergency contact number to quickly return lost children to their parents. However they’ve recently implemented QR technology to make the tattoos more powerful life-saving tools than ever. While previously space constraints limited the information on the tattoos to a single phone number, the QR code greatly increases their capacity to include the child’s allergies, medications, multiple numbers and contacts, and particular preferences of the child until their parent can be contacted. Unlike dog tags or medic alert bracelets, they can’t be lost or taken off, have the capacity to provide far more information, and they last for up to 2 weeks. The SafetyTat offers an elegant and convenient solution to a common and terrifying crisis that can happen in an instant, and they do so by using QR technology in a new and unique way.
Custom order at SafetyTat.com, click here for more information on their QR options.
On paper, this ad campaign isn’t particularly exciting. Reminding the reader of their TV spots, 5 Gum asserts the extreme sensory experience supposedly delivered by popping a piece. However, the experience delivered by scanning the QR code in the bottom left corner is what’s worth mentioning.
In broad strokes, there are 3 types of mobile experiences presented by QR codes. The first and worst of these being the un-optomized, unaltered homepage of the advertiser. Second, and thankfully increasingly common, are pages designed to provide a mobile experience useful to the viewer: store locators, email opt-ins, how-to videos, and the like.
The 5 Gum campaign however falls into a third category, in which the mobile site itself is designed as a sort of entertainment. It plays on the secretive nature of QR codes, which have the potential to contain anything and reveal nothing on the page. Also, much like the concept of an Easter egg, one only finds it if they know what they’re looking for. This campaign very much plays to these aspects, and does it well.
Completely mobilized for mobile (I “experimented” on an iPhone), and completely unexpected, this mobile experience goes far beyond the typical mobile site usually waiting on the other end of a code. Upon launching, the user is asked if they are willing to “engage” in the “human preservation project.” This triggers a series of questions, asking for a reaction to a jumpy static addled image. Completion of this series leads to a landing page with an option to launch a video, after which the user is sent to their computer to complete the next “phase of testing.” It is a compelling progression, and keeps the user intrigued and guessing.
Check it out yourself: scan the code on the right for the mobile experience, or check out the desktop side at TestSubjectsNeeded.com
While the appearance of the ugly QR code used to be a hurdle to overcome in advancing its adoption, an image currently circulating suggests that now its signature look has found its own ground. While at first look the code combining the QR matrix with the pixelated image of Nintendo’s Mario is a clever blend of iconography, upon scanning it reveals–nothing.
Perhaps the appearance of a lame duck code may seem to be as meaningless as the code itself, but that the image gained recognition (and tumblr ♥’s) despite lacking the function that usually justifies the presence of a code suggests that the imagery of QR has entered our visual vernacular to the point that their image is meaningful, even without a functional scan.
While the image has circulated broadly, it was created by web artist Kuwahara; his work can be seen at thisiskuwahara.com.
What can a car as eye catching as a Mini Cooper possibly use to attract more attention to itself? In the pages of the March issue of Wired Magazine, the answer appears to be mounting itself in the middle of a massive QR code.
Scan, and you can download the Virtual MINI app, allowing you to superimpose the image of a Mini anywhere you like in a similarly eye catching manner: your driveway, in front of your house, or as my experiment fruited: in my purse.
This is not the only example of advertisers bringing the QR out of the bottom corner. The May issue of Wired also featured an advertisement with a similar affection, this time for Qwest.
The advertisement presents us with six QR codes, and the challenge of finding a password for ultimateproblemsolver.com, with the premise being if you are a savvy businessperson in need of the services of Qwest Business and an ultimate problem solver, you should be familiar with how to scan QR codes, and unlock the password. Scanning each of the codes reveals a message such as “Nothing to See Here,” “Keep Looking,” and “Not Here Either,” until you locate the code that reveals “The Password is GO.” Granted, they don’t make efforts to be too exclusive, as the password is also written upside down under the QR riddle.
Visit ultimateproblemsolver.com, and you begin a series of riddles and problems that eventually lead you to their trend watch and the ability to create an account reflecting how much of a problem solver you truly are.
Both of these advertisements feature the QR codes they contain, rather than sending them to a corner for a mildly touted function. These codes are the main point of the advertisements that contain them, and reflect their novelty, functionality, and growing understanding and acceptance.
The initial resistance to QR codes seems to be melting away in the US, as the question of “What can they really be used for?” has apparently been answered with a resounding EVERYTHING.
This bold statement was been prompted by a recent trip to the grocery store, where poking up from the prickles of a display of artichokes, I happened upon little cards emblazoned with QR codes. Apparently if you have the savvy to figure out how to eat an artichoke, then you can figure out how to scan a QR code.
And they’re not gratuitous either– a scan enables one not only to enter a sweepstakes for $10,000 (or better, a case of “field fresh” artichokes), but to register for the Ocean Mist Artichoke Aficionado Club.
I believe with this post we can officially say that anyone who doubted the relevance of QR codes to daily life has officially been proven wrong.
Join the Artichoke Aficionado Club at oceanmist.com/aficionados/subscribe.aspx or visit the mobile page at m.oceanmist.com.
UPDATE: Check out the happy ending here! The article not only reveals the prize winner, but also the numbers behind the sweepstakes success.
The work of Japanese advertising agency Set, the rabbit above was created in celebration of 2011, the year of the rabbit. When scanned, it connects to the phrase, “Want to talk creative, hare-brained campaigns in 2011? We’re all ears,” as well as their contact information and a link to their homepage.
This is just one example of the “designer” QR codes produced by the agency, also the firm behind the Time Frames QR campaign launched by Time Magazine in the US.
[Image from SetJapan.com]
The classic novella, The Little Prince, has lent its iconic style of illustration to the mobile action code realm. The designer QR code links users to the Petit Prince’s Facebook page, and will appear on items purchased from the online store.