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Jetblue loves QR codes

I’m unconvinced most people care enough about two-dimensional bar codes in ads to scan them. But advertisers are running more of these codes anyway. Here’s an over-the-top example. What do you think of this travel poster?

I like it, even though it’s risky. The poster, which I spotted in the New York subway this weekend, promotes a contest sponsored by Jetblue Getaways and the St. Petersburg/Clearwater Area Convention & Visitors Bureau. It’s one of a series of similar ads. The designer took the QR code for this contest, blew it up, and made it a design element, replacing the squares with tiny photos of the beach. The real, scannable QR code is located in the lower left, nested within the design. The code contains the characters HTTP://WWW.JET2THEBEACH.COM, which will direct you to the contest web site.

This isn’t the first campaign to riff on the distinct look of the QR code. Last year Calvin Klein ran a billboard that was nothing but a big bar code.

It’s a cool design. And even though I like it, I wonder if most people will get it.

The hope with QR codes is that they’ll make it easy for people learn more about brands they’re interested in, and (no less important) that they’ll help advertisers track the effectiveness of campaigns. The challenge is teaching the public what the odd checkerboards mean and convincing people with smartphones to scan them. It’s dangerous to generalize based on one person’s experience, but I ride the subway all the time, and I’d estimate there are QR codes on maybe 10% to 20% of posters at this point. Other than myself, I have never seen anybody take a picture of a QR Code.

Read more about the Jetblue-St. Petersburg/Clearwater campaign in the Tampa Tribune.

— By Daryl Lang. Filed under Advertising