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Scan Me: QR Codes make it to billboards

Mobile is all the rage right now and QR codes, two-dimensional code readable by dedicated QR barcode readers and camera phones, are coming into their own. A Chicago-based company has just launched an innovative idea that utilises QR codes to make massive outdoor billboard advertising affordable to small and medium businesses.

Outdoor advertising costs can run into the tens and even hundreds of thousands rands, putting them way beyond the marketing budgets of many small to medium business.

ScanForDeals.com has placed QR codes on billboards around Chicago. In effect, creating a “time-sharing” capacity for the billboard site. The fist site is a 600 square foot code in the South Loop of Chicago, with more sites planned in the near future. It features a QR Code that can be scanned and give users the ability to access a “daily deal” (similar to group-buying) in the nearby vicinity. Simply show the downloaded coupon on your phone and receive the deal.

According to their website, “ScanForDeals.com works with local merchants to provide affordable billboard advertising through the use of QR code and mobile technology. Merchants participating in ScanForDeals.com programs receive analytical information from viewers scanning the billboard, and only incur minimal costs on the days their advertisement is run.”

The way it works is that ScanForDeals can dynamically change the content of the URL to which the QR code points, thus having the ability to “change” the billboard on-the-fly. The QR code remains the same, but it can be directed to point to the coupon of ScanForDeals’ latest customer.

Technically this is also an environmentally-friendly solution to outdoor advertising. Outdoor billboards are more often than not made from PVC vinyl. Changed every month, this creates a ton of waste that can not be recycled. A QR code billboard never needs to be changed. If it points to a URL then all you need do is change the content on that page, so you can “refresh” the billboard as many times as you like without any wasteage.

  • Try http://www.SocialQRCodes.com to create coupons as well. Plus you can create and distribute them yourself! Plus, when the consumer scans the QR Code, they have the ability to share it with all their friends on Facebook and all their followers on Twitter.

  • QR codes made it to billboards a least once before this. Calvin Klein used it for their UNCENSORED campaign. In fact, pretty much the entire billboard was a QR code. If you want to look at innovation using the QR code technology, take a look at the designer codes that have been developed for some fashion labels, or even STICKYBITS (an adaptation of QR code tech which seems to be the fastest on take-up in the western world where this technology is concerned).

  • I love that QR codes are gaining popularity. It’s amazing, the amount of information that can be stored in them and how practical they are for real-world applications. Business cards, instructional videos, advertisement. Even clothing brands are taking advantage of them: http://bit.ly/gBANOO

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  • Saurabh Anand

    How can QR codes be used as an OOH advertising medium. Who can do it..? vendors , what are cost implications

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