The Death and Resurrection of the QR Code

You, like many others, may think that QR Codes are dead – a great idea, perhaps, but, after being heavily hyped early on, it seems they never realized their promise.  A recent addition, to Apple’s iOS 11, however, may change everything.   

Ten years ago QR codes were going to be the hottest thing.  As they first arrived on the scene our company researched them and prepared for the onslaught of users who would adopt this new tech and need help managing the codes and the data behind them.

I even gave a presentation to an Ad Club meeting in Greenville, S.C., as the “buzz” began about the capabilities of these odd looking targets for print.

We all pictured consumers scanning the codes in grocery and retail stores to get info on the product or to read reviews.

We thought the Real Estate market would explode with them, since they could easily be tied to images and video of a home and scanned “at the street.”  All of this was true, but consumer adoption was slow, marketers were hesitant and the ROI seemed non-existent.

Part of the problem was the scanner. You had to download an app in order to scan a code and the scanning process was slow, cumbersome, and, although information was accessed by the user, there was little if any information collected for the marketer.

Combine all this with how unsightly they were on the printed piece and the challenge of low public awareness. It seemed that the little code was destined to follow the path of the CueCat – a bar code scanner for consumers released in 2000 by a company that has since gone under.

But, as Mark Twain said, “The reports of my death have been greatly exaggerated.”

Today the list of companies making a commitment to QR Codes is impressive to say the least. Pepsi, Jeep, Snapchat, Pinterest, Facebook Messenger, Spotify are all “in” and adoption is on the rise.

One of the most telling developments is the latest iPhone technology. Apple has added a scanner to their newest iPhone operating system that allows the camera to scan a QR Code whenever one is detected.

No app opening. No fumbling with the phone. We think this is significant, since Apple sold more than one billion iPhones worldwide, between 2007 and 2016.

So forget what you thought you knew about the QR Code of the past. Scanning has never been easier; people know them when they see them and they are most likely here to stay.


Tim Bryant is the VP of Sales Development for The Daniels Group in Asheville, NC. The Daniels Group is a communications company with the tools and knowledge to help you grow your business.