The Big Melt

I am still undecided about QR codes. I have owned a smartphone for around four years and am yet to make my first phone scan. Confession of digital backwardness over, I believe that there is something decidedly non-British about stopping in a busy street or leaning over a magazine with your “hand-held mobile device” to find out more – a little too keen for your average John Smith from Slough. The statistics paint a similar picture as according to a recent survey only 36% of British consumers know what QR codes are for, while 11% have actually used them. Moreover, the survey’s findings suggest that the phone itself was seen as a barrier to QR code usage (52% of respondents didn’t have a device that was capable of scanning QR codes), in addition to a general lack of interest in doing so, and a preference for simpler, quicker and more convenient ways of getting to a website – in essence confirming a British sense of practicality. Not worth the hassle…

But imagine if QR codes were made interesting? If the process of scanning enlivened the brand experience, and portrayed a sense of mystery and surprise rather than an attempt to cut back on copy and look ‘digitally savy’ (although unconvincingly)? What then indeed… ? I rather like the idea of QR codes being used to deliver a sense of discovery – a connection between a simple visual and a digital medley of facts and further information, a tie between the real and the virtual. In short, I want more ideas similar to this WWF campaign by Iris Amsterdam.

This guerrilla campaign deployed QR codes to inform people of the effects of climate change. On Amsterdam’s melting canals in late February, QR codes were transferred onto the ice in prime spots across the city to raise interest among the city’s residents and drive awareness of the global issue of the melting ice caps. With temperatures rising, the QR Codes message got gradually clearer, directing users to the WWF website. Significantly the QR codes were environmentally-friendly; created by GreenGraffiti with sheet metal stencil and ‘printed’ with sticky sand and chalk, their fading remains are as intangible as the once ice-coated water. With a media budget of zero, the proof and measurable return of the campaign was in the scanning, which just goes to highlight that if the idea is there anything goes.


One response to “The Big Melt

  1. Pingback: Read my lips « Marzipan and Marmite·

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