Internet trends: marketing research & predictions

QR Codes and Real Time Marketing – Trends Review

June 20th, 2009 by



QR codes used as mobile tagging has started in Japan (2003) and since are  implemented in several fields of mobile marketing world wide. As marketing applications their uniqueness stems from their Quick Response orientation which allows customers to access real time information.

The QR code process:

Mobile users, taking a picture of the code or reading it with their cameras,  trigger an action leading to content download, a message or link.


QR Codes – Trends Review:

QR codes are offering endless marketing opportunities. Today – with the remarkable growth of mobile and smart phones – this potential can be easily implemented.

Follow the trend as it grow: see the rise in interest through Google search – world wide (since 2007) and in the US (since mid 2008).

Taking advantage of local targeting, mobile users (provided with a good motivation) can be directed to your brand ads and messages. You can bring your targets to a remarkable real time action, engaging with the brand and leading them to purchase. Moreover, QR codes embedded on packaged goods can provide information previously limited by space (ingredients, features,  recommendations etc.) As such it is an excellent real time marketing tool for retail.

qr_codesBrands utilize QR codes in their marketing campaigns:

December 2005: Northwest Airlines advertising campaign (Tokyo’s streets and subways)

June 2008:  Adidas

November 2008:  Pepsi Max

May 2009: Coca-Cola Japan QR Code promotion (at vending machines)

June 2009: Speed Stick


Many games are using the QR codes to achieve a connection between location and information (location based games). In this direction, many urban games are being developed (for example: QR-Kill)

qr_codesTelevision and movies:




The local information demand holds a promise for tourist initiatives. Have a look at Japan’s & Paris tourist maps, American Airlines boarding passes, playing cards as an aid for tourists in planning their tour (Japan).

qr_codesQR codes and Education:

QR codes technology was already adopted for education purposes as teaching the periodic table of chemical elements, acquaintance with materials etc.

qr_codes_futureThe Future of QR Codes:

TrendsSpotting believes that QR codes, as any other technology to trigger  information solutions for real time demand, will become popular and mainstream as the traditional bar code. Brands investigating this potential will learn the importance of location based needs and real time information. Here, sky is the limit.


To follow QR code news – we recommend Also – have a look at Set (Japanese design agency specializing in QR codes branding).

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18 Responses

  1. Stewart McKie Says:

    Lots more ideas for using QR Codes and MS Tags at and at

  2. julia Hyde Says:

    We believe QR Codes are the marketing tool of the future – so much so that we built our own QR Code generator with built in analytics for scans and impressions. We’re also in the process of adding geo-ip look up for long/lat, time and date data. Great article by the way. Explains QR Codes and how they work simply and concisely.

  3. JLMdirect (Jody Lauren Miller) Says:

    Twitter Comment

    Checkin out & SERIOUSLY diggin QR codes ([link to post] ) Try this one-Its me 1st! (phone app via

    Posted using Chat Catcher

  4. ken Says:

    When QR codes first came out in Japan companies like DoCoMo had to teach the public how to use them

  5. Avivo d.o.o. Says:

    If you want to create vector QR codes beside bitmap QR codes you can do this using free online tool at: You can choose between various data types, we support also geolocation.

  6. P.Bradley Says:

    Hi – one of my line managers is impressed by your ‘QR Code process’ diagram. Would you mind if we used this image on our university library website while citing yourself and this blog page? Much appreciated if that’s possible! Thanks.

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  9. Peg.Co Says:

    This is a good post but I am hoping for something a little more current. QR codes are really starting to pop up all over the place. In adds, in coupons, and shampoo to name just a few places.

    I am just hoping to figure out a good angle on a trend for QR codes.


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  17. TrendsSpotting Insight: Why QR Codes Fail and How They Can Still be Beneficial | Trendsspotting Says:

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