RIP QR Codes

My colleague recently shared a article with me about how the QR codes have now made their way onto tombstones. That’s right … tombstones.

A Seattle-based headstone shop sells QR code stickers for tombstones which will link to a website that the family has created for their recently departed family member. I can think of a few of my friends who may find this funny and would probably want this for themselves but the question remains: are the dead using a technology that is dying, too?

In order to scan a QR code you must own a smartphone, download a QR code reader application and have Internet access. It takes a steady hand and good lighting to successfully scan one. According to Forrester Research, 5 percent of Americans scanned a QR code between May and July in 2011. Moreover, Nielsen reported that in March of 2012 only 50.4 percent of mobile phone owners actually owned a smartphone.

While the general public is still coming around to the idea of QR codes advertisers are desperate to use them in unique and different ways. But let me be clear – unique doesn’t always mean good or useful.

Who can scan a QR code on a billboard while driving 70 miles per hour? Highway Patrol Officers might find this dangerous. Or scan one that is posted on the wall of a subway? Internet access is weak or lost in a subway, and is necessary for the QR code to work. These are all scenarios that have happened, and I’m sure have failed miserably.

Not all QR codes are worthless. Taco Bell just rolled out two that were created out of lemons and avocados. It is a super fun idea that ties directly with its brand. The key to its success lies in showcasing the codes where they can be easily scanned.  With only 5 percent of Americans using QR codes, success will be hard to come by.

The question still remains: are the dead using a technology that is dying, too?

~ Tanya Osegueda, Outreach & New Media Manager

2 thoughts on “RIP QR Codes”

  • The other day a banana I was eating had a QR code sticker on it! So we scanned it, and it led to the Del Monte site and a video about the wholesomeness of the company. It was kind of a letdown. I know if I put a QR code on my tombstone, it’s going to lead to a discount coupon, maybe a few dollars off a Red Carpet wash, or something like that.

    • How cool would it have been if the banana QR code led you to a dancing banana or fun facts about bananas. That was definitely a lost opportunity.

      We would scan your tombstone for a Red Carpet coupon, for sure! 🙂

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