101 uses for QR codes

by on March 7, 2011

Here is my list of 101 actual or potential uses for quick scan codes for smart phones (with cameras):

  1. Scan Code Meets Street Team Meets Flash Mob 2.0 scan code meets flash mob meets Street Team – scan the code on the t-shirt to send a Tweet.
  2. Business Cards – recipient scans the code to import your contact info. [Download the free ScanLife Smart Phone scanning software and try it on my business card.]
  3. Logo Jet – scan code on the exterior of a jet: be first and watch it go viral. Unexpected = traditional media coverage
  4. Clothing Designer Who are you wearing? The fabric design incorporates the scan code. Scanning the code launches the designer’s website. (Now let your customers order an outfit via the web incorporating THEIR scan code into the design of the outfit. (Think HP fashion-meets technology on Project Runway. HP should be sprinting to a personalized scan code leveraging their personalized fabric printing solution.) Scanning the code might take you to a Twitter profile.) See photos of scan codes meet fashion. And, here’s a photo of scan code dating dress! Band/models/rocker chicks wear scan code dresses along with scan code accessories (video). Designer Lendorff Kaywa servers up this high-end fashion scarf with a scan code. And, “tush” codes in France. And, this from Ralph Lauren, as reported by Time magazine (8/14/08)
  5. Head of Lettuce – find when and where the lettuce is grown: it’s already being done in Japan.
  6. Website – on the Contacts page. Here’s how we use the scan code on the GREAT! website. [Fast Company uses a scan code to take the reader directly to the writer's Twitter feed. This example is from 6/22/10.]
  7. Big Box Retailer – Manufacturers provide how to install videos via scan codes. Place scan codes on all their product boxes. If the manufacturer is not already doing so.
  8. Product Packaging – If you sell a product that requires installation, including a scan code on the box (to play the how to install video). This helps sell product; helps with install; helps reduce call-center calls; and reduces returns.) Lighting Labels Blog writes: QR Codes are Coming to Packaging (3/16/10). Putting Dots on Paper blog post says, The Stars Align for QR Codes (3/16/10)
  9. Magazine/Newspaper Ad – scan the code to launch a how to video; a calendar item; or pre-filled in tweet (Click here for Macy’s Kenneth Cole fragrance ad example) Click here for an example of Ford in The Times of India newspaper. (3/28/10)
  10. Magazine/Newspaper Editorial Coverage – scanning the code launches digital content such as video coverage or updates for news by topic or story. Car and Driver magazine includes a code with each car pictured for additional information.
  11. Outdoor Billboard – great for a teaser campaign for a new movie or TV show. Scan the code to watch the trailer, sneak preview or teaser episode. Mashable reports: City of New York Blankets Times Square with Giant QR Codes (6/10/10)
  12. Interactive Television – imagine the TV show story line incorporates scan codes that reveal additional information for the character or viewer.  (For the viewer the scan code might include the backstory on how this stunt was done. Think mash-up of movie DVD bonus content meets TV show. Viewers are engaged with the programming) ["EZcodes are a key ingredient in the new season of La Carte Aux Tresors (Treasure Hunt), a popular French prime-time TV show modeled on America's Amazing Race," according to the ScanLife.com website. Click here to see a video clip of the show using a ScanCode. Click here to see a video showing how The Weather Channel incorporated a scan code into its weather forecast (2/10).
  13. Name Tags – create and add your scan code to your name badge to make it easy for conference and exhibit attendees to get your contact info. Print your scan code on Avery labels and you are done. (Avery: it would be great to have a 3/4" square Avery label for scan scan codes! While the initial interest may be small, you'll get media coverage for being innovative. I'd like to buy the first box of these Avery Easy Peel labels for EZcode scan codes please.) Conference event organizers can automatically generate scan codes for name badges too. Click here for a name tag example reported by Fast Company (3/16/10) at the South by Southwest conference in March 2010.
  14. Scan the Code to Launch a Tweet • Text SCAN to 43588 to get free scanner app, ScanLife. Then, scan this code, to send a tweet to Dan Smigrod

    Books-Books-Books – Text Books – until all text book content is delivered via an iPad, add scan codes to text books to “add” video to the book. Children’s Books – add scan codes to help make learning fun! Novels – add scan codes for sidebar stories about the characters or author commentary. Recipe Book – scan the code to see the “how to” video (cooking technique, how to make this dish, inspiration from the author). Non-Fiction – add scan codes to add content updates since the book was published. Brand Digital book by Alen Adamson includes a scan code on the back cover to take you to the Amazon page to order the book.

  15. House For Sale Signs – add scan code that launches video or photo tour of the house. Realtor Lesley Lambert in Western, MA uses scan codes to help sell her clients’ homes (see her video).
  16. Land For Sale Signs – add scan code to get details about the land
  17. Luggage – add your scan code to your luggage
  18. Train – add scan code to get a schedule and route
  19. Train Ads – add scan code to get contact info
  20. Toys – manufacturer includes on each toy for an extended experience. For example, when you scan American Girl, you get an additional story about your American Girl.
  21. Games – scan codes an extra interactive game play dimension that launch a video
  22. Appliances – Can’t find the instructions for the vacuum cleaner you bought two years ago? The scan code launches the appliance manual on the website
  23. Museum – scan the code for audio commentary for this piece of artwork
  24. Theme Park – create a scavenger hunt with scan codes (Click here for a “SCANvengerHunt” example in Dayton, OH) SCVNGR is a scan-venger hunt game app ….
  25. Historical Site Markers – scan code reveals video or text about this historical location
  26. Facebook – scan code provides your info. FaceTime Strategy blog “predicts Facebook will use the codes for profile information and status updates.”
  27. Groceries – scan code for a recipe added either by the manufacturer or the retailer
  28. Restaurant Menu – scan code for the recipe
  29. Restaurant Menu ItemClick here for a scan code on a McDonalds hamburger wrapper in Japan. (nutritional info)
  30. LinkedIn Page – add your scan code with your contact info
  31. Travel Brochure – scan the code at the hotel will call you (mash-up of scan and Live Chat) Click here to see how the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino uses the EZcode.
  32. Free Digital Asset Scan this code to get animated wallpaper from Nike.
  33. CD – Scan the code to get bonus content: free wallpaper, video, ring tone and tour schedule.
  34. DVD – Scan the code to get bonus content: video
  35. Catalog – Sears uses EZcode scan codes to show product review and specs. Click here for “This Is Canada” brochure with extensive use of scan codes. (6/10/10)
  36. Airport Signage – passengers on the go get connected to airline’s flight status
  37. College Campus – Case Western Reserve University student organizations use their scan codes to promote their campus events
  38. Google Maps – scan code to get a walking map from here to the Georgia Aquarium. (An extremely long URL – such as a Google Map with directions – can be a simple scan code!)
  39. Calendar Item – scan this code to save the date, time and place for the Big Boi release party
  40. Discount Code – scan this code – now – to get a text message with the promo code to get 25% off your purchase today.
  41. Call Us! – scan this code to call us now to place your order!
  42. Email Us! – scan this code to email us now (from your smart phone)
  43. Movie Ad – scan this code for your choice: watch the movie trailer, find the closest theater or buy tickets now. Every movie ad should let you see the movie trailer – now!
  44. TV Show Print Ad – scan this code calendar entry code to save an event to your smart phone calendar including: date, time and place (TV channel). [CNBC ran a full-page ad in The Wall Street Journal (6/22/10) print edition that contained a scan code (Microsoft Tag) to launch a video (on YouTube) promoting the CNBC original, American Greed Special Presentation: Mob Money.]
  45. Tweet This! – scan this code to tweet this story (with suggested text for your tweet)
  46. Concert Venue – guests scan the code when existing the concert venue to tweet: a) they enjoyed the show; and b) promoting the next event at this concert venue. This helps: a) build the concert venue brand; and b) promotes the next event
  47. How To I Get There From Here? – this scan code contains the Google Maps URL for directions from Point A to Point B. For example, If you have been to the Millennium Park you may be surprised to learn that there is a 1,500+ theater underground: the Harris Theater for Music and Dance. How about scan codes located in the Park to help promote the theater?
  48. Craker Jack caramel-coated popcorn and peanuts snack – Free Prize goes digital – these scan codes fulfill digital assets (it’s a surprise until you scan the code; or, your choose of free digital asset)
  49. Chicago Water Taxi – place the scan code of the roof so that tourists crossing over the bridges when the water taxi passes can find out how where/how much/frequency for a water taxi. (You missed a sale!)
  50. Hallmark Greeting Card via SmartPhone – I saw an ad (poster) in the Chicago O’Hare International Airport this month for sending Hallmark Greeting Cards via smart phone. I would have preferred a scan code instead of texting to get further instructions. (It’s easier and faster …)
  51. Media Release – add scan codes to media releases
  52. In Store – add scan codes to all signage. Examples include: Tweet this to a friend; save the date for our fashion show; see a video about this product
  53. Wall Painting – add a scan code as tall as the building for dramatic impact (Think gigantic spectacular sign in Times Square) Click here for a blog post that includes photos from Times Square to Tokyo from InventorSpot by Ron Callari.
  54. Restaurant Business or Post Cards – scan the code to make a reservation via Open Table.
  55. Grocery Shopping Cart – on sale this week (scan code remains the same: content changes weekly)
  56. Bus Shelter – scan to find out when’s the next bus (launches app for that!)
  57. Taxi Stand – scan to call a taxi
  58. In the Mens’ Urinals – first use gets traditional media coverage! [GREAT! proposed and implemented the first interactive urinal communicator for CMT Outlaws. ("Don't miss Outlaws on CMT. You seem to miss everything else.")]
  59. Scan2Win – for your chance to win, scan this code. This functionality is built into the ScanLife EZcode scan code service.
  60. Email Signature Block – add a scan code with your contact info or a calendar item for an upcoming event such as the premiere of a new TV series
  61. Teaser Mailing – imagine ’snail mailing’ a potential Client a Scan code (that’s it! It’s a teaser mailing!) that auto-generates a tweet back to you from the recipient to schedule a lunch meeting [For example, I mailed a scan code on Monday, June 7, 2010 to a hard-to-reach senior marketing executive that I would like to meet for lunch to discuss a (GREAT!) idea. Let's see if he uses the pre-filled in tweet to reply to me to set up lunch!]
  62. Direct Mail – include various scan codes (call us; watch a video, launch website, enter sweepstakes)
  63. Instruction Manual – include scan codes for watching the installation; repair or trouble-shooting videos
  64. Invoice – turn an invoice into a marketing tool with a scan code that launches a video or website
  65. Truck – got one or more trucks that include a phone number or web address? Include a scan code too!
  66. Video Game – add bonus content, clues or links within a video game
  67. There’s An App for That – add a scan code that takes the consumer to the mobile app that you want them to download on an iPhone. For example, The Wall Street Journal ran a 1/4 page house ad (6/9/10) to get their podcasts on-demand from a mobile phone. The ad included a scan code that launched the Apple iTunes App Store on my iPhone and took me directly to the free app (Stitcher) to install. It’s just an easier/faster way to find/install a new app. 325,000+ apps should be using a scan code to launch “Install” the app in the Apple iTunes App Store
  68. Restaurant Guide – include a scan code for each restaurant to launch map/directions
  69. Trade Show Management – your scan code on traditional collateral launches your trade show app
  70. ConferenceBMO Capital Markets included a scan code in their print ad to get their conference materials on your mobile
  71. Music – if your audience is music, take ‘em to your music or music video on YouTube.
  72. Film – if you want to get people to watch your movie in the theater, have them scan the code to watch the movie trailer – now! The 2009 film, Surrogates, starring Bruce Willis, used the code for a Scan2win sweepstakes to see a advance screening. Click here for an Indiana Jones and the Kingdom Of The Crystal Skull poster using a scan code in Australia.
  73. Tickets – add a scan code to provide advance info for your guests (or help activate word-of-mouth). For example, launch a tweet: “Just got my ticket to BLUE MAN GROUP at THE VENETIAN in Las Vegas. NY Times says, ‘THE SHOW ROCKS!’” (Use the code codes to sell tickets too.)
  74. Vacuum Cleaner – Bissell vacuum cleaner brochure has a scan code that launches their mobile website. I’d like to see the scan code on the vacuum too! For example, launch a video to show how to replace the fan belt.
  75. Temporary Tattoos – if you have ravening fans, let them show it – and share it – with a scan code. For example, the scan code might launch a tweet to the rock star. First one that does this idea (for the right product) will generate huge trade and/or consumer press. Click here for some non-commercial temporary tattoo examples.
  76. Photography Art Exhibit – Imagine an art gallery that has 20 different framed scan codes: that’s it. Each scan code reveals a different photo from the photographer. The photographer can “rotate” the photos daily, weekly or monthly so that the exhibit changes. [This idea is inspired by an exhibit I saw many years ago at the Chicago Art Institute. Each "painting" was a different date in black Helvetica type on a white background. Meaningless? Now image that the date happened to be the day you were married. That's an image that's bigger than life that the artist couldn't possibly capture on canvas, but just did simply by displaying the date. I'd love to link to the Artist's work ...] [They beat me to it! QR Code Show 6/23/10]
  77. Uniforms – if all your employees wear the same t-shirt, adding a scan code on their tee can help create an interactive guest experience. And, the scan codes could lead to different call-to-actions.
  78. Google Favorite PlacesWe’re a Favorite Place on Googlelet’s go to the videotape for the backstory on the window stickers you will start to see. Lightning Labels Blog writes, “Google Sends Out 100,000 QR Code Stickers” (12/21/09)
  79. Penthouse For SaleFourth largest U.S. real estate company announces (6/9/10) it’s first to market NY penthouses using EZcode scan codes.
  80. Window Displays – learn more about the items in the window
  81. Shelf Talkers – recipes for produce, meat, beverages, etc.
  82. StandeesXbox “Halo 3? used Microsoft Tag scan codes
  83. YouTube Video - scan the code at the end of the video to take you to a related video
  84. TV Commercial – :30 seconds not enough? Scan this code within the commercial for expanded video content
  85. Display Classified Ad – scan this code for a map showing the destination
  86. Bedtime Story Meets Bedspread-Boy – a dozen scan codes: for different dinosaur  stories, photos, videos and more each week for 52 weeks – a mash-up!
  87. Barbie Bedtime Story Meets Bed Spread-Girl – a dozen scan codes for a different Barbie stories, photos, video and more each week for 52 weeks – a mash-up!
  88. Wheaties Cereal Box – scan the code to see video of the athlete on the box
  89. Picture Frames – scan the link to see artwork that changes daily
  90. Board Game Cards – turn that “take a chance card” into a video opportunity. We’ve scene games incorporate TV, CD and DVDs. Now games can include music, video and other multi-media without the expense of a CD or DVD packed in every game box. First game to integrate a mobile phone into the game experience will be rewarded with traditional media coverage and word-of-mouth buzz
  91. Twitter – How about creating a TwitScan(TM) service that creates a scan code and provide a short URL to it!
  92. Webinar – integrate scan codes into your webinar for additional content
  93. Teaser – place scan codes in unexpected places without an explanation to tease (movie, TV show, new product, new service)
  94. PowerPoint (Keynote on a Mac) – engage your audience with bonus content; first and last slide has a scan code with your contact info
  95. PayPal Paymentsscan the code to make a donation to the non-profit via PayPal
  96. Made you look! oh! Those Brits!
  97. Rubber Stamp with your scan code! (on your forehead?)
  98. RSS Feedconvert your RSS feed to mobile and assign it a scan code
  99. BuildingHere is a photo of a scan code building in Tokyo (12/09)
  100. Wine Bottles - Lighting Labels Blog writes about two Portuguese wineries using scan codes on their labels (3/18/09)
  101. Political Campaign – scan the codes to: volunteer, donate, see the candidate speak on an issue.

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