QR codes declared dead—not so fast, some say

An Advertising Age column proclaimed obsolete the symbols that mobile phones can scan to go to websites or videos. Not so fast, say some communications pros.

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There’s no clear consensus, but proponents and detractors are having their say.

In a column posted to Advertising Age’s website this week, online marketing strategist and blogger B.L. Ochman said the technology—through which mobile phone users scan symbols using special apps to visit websites, watch videos, or download other apps—is past its sell-by date.

“I was an early proponent of QR codes, but now I have to admit that they are history,” she wrote.

Why? QR codes have largely been implemented badly, she argued, in areas where they couldn’t effectively be scanned. Other technologies, such as Blippar or Touchcode, are more convenient and work better, Ochman wrote.

However, some communicators say QR codes are as useful as ever; others concede the technology has reached a make-or-break point.

A bad rap?

QR codes have earned a less-than-sterling reputation because they’re often used in ways that don’t connect, says Linda Pophal, a communication consultant with Strategic Communications. Most of the ineffective uses of the technology have been aimed more toward doing something new than doing something effective, she says.

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