Dear Dentist, Don’t Do This with Your QR Code!

Here on the MDPM blog, we’ve discussed QR codes: what they are, how to use them, how to get one. Over the past year, you may have noticed QR codes on a variety of items. Macy’s holiday commercial featured a red, star-shaped QR code. I’ve also noticed the little squares on everything from softball bats to boxed pasta to direct mail postcards. In the marketing world, we’re still trying to determine the best use for QR codes. Their use is evolving; their history is being made.

As  intelligent humans, we know that success gets closer as we learn from our mistakes. In a article published last month,’s VP of sales, Mike McGuinness, tells us his five FAILS for QR codes in 2011. See the article here for related images.

  • FAIL Red Bulls’ QR Campaign in Subways… In most subways, cell phones don’t work. You can’t read a QR phone without a cell phone!
  • FAIL Continental’s QR Flight Mile Campaign… The URL the QR code led to a page with a pop-up window that didn’t allow users to click the buttons that would secure their miles. The pop-up window didn’t work on cell phones like it did on a laptop, tablet, or desktop computer.
  • FAIL Washington Redskins’ Facebook Page QR… The QR code featured in this promotion required users to have a proprietary scanner – so it didn’t work for anyone without that scanner app.
  • FAIL Esquire Magazine QR Cover… The QR code was printed right where the mailing label goes. Great thinking, guys.
  • FAIL Nirvsana’s 20th Anniversary Edition of Nevermind… The round QR code was difficult to scan, especially those printed on billboards.

The lessons to learn here are the same as those we already know in copywriting and design: PROOFREAD, FACT CHECK, TEST TEST TEST.

Before you implement a QR code in your marketing strategy, think about the best use. Where will the QR code lead? Where will you print it? Is it a universally recognizable code, or is it proprietary? Before you print, proof! Test out your QR code from 5 different phones with different QR readers. Also, float your proofs by 5 different people. Ask these testers to look for obvious problems, mistakes, or potential concerns.

Need help with marketing? Want a QR code for your dental practice? Call MDPM and talk with Jill. Call 972-781-8861 or email us today.