Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Can Guinness Bring the QR Code Back to Life?

Depends; is your glass half-empty or –full?  

Earlier this year the creative minds of BBDO New York developed a quick response (QR) code campaign for Guinness that’s truly first of its kind – activated by the product itself!

That’s right, just when you thought QR codes had served their (proved devoid of) purpose, comes a new way to interact with the technology.

When empty or filled with a competing, amber-colored brewsky, the QR code is nothing more than an illegible, nonsensical spread of white squares. Only the dark, rich, signature black of a Guinness completes the code, turning the glass (and drink itself) into interactive and dynamic social media content.

But a QR code is only as good as where it takes you…

Like opening an elaborately wrapped Christmas gift only to find a single pair of white socks; the Guinness cup is cute, but for the most part, fails to impress.

Once scanned, the QR code acts as a conduit to all your social media personas. It can tweet about your Guinness pint, check you in on foursquare, update your status on Facebook – it even invites friends to join you out and provides you with coupons and other discount offers.

Then what?

No, seriously? It’s cool in that it’s unique and new. But after the novelty wears off (approximately 25 seconds), what is the user left with? I guess the subtle reminder that the rich, bold color and flavor of Guinness is unique in the marketplace? But just because it can activate a code doesn’t mean it is ideal for my palate.

Every brand thinks they need to use QR codes right now; that it will make them appear "hip" and "cool."

Creative teams – in-house and agencies alike – have got to learn to how to say, "No. QR codes are useless."

We don’t know what we expect QR codes to do exactly, but we’ll know it when we see it (and this isn’t it).

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