QR codes seem to be popping up everywhere. Magazines, advertisements, products, and business cards are just a few places you might see one on any given day. But just because they are everywhere doesn’t mean they are going to be successful.

A little history…

According to the QR Code Guide, the QR code has actually been around since 1994. First developed as a 2D bar code, it wasn’t until 2002 that Japanese mobile phone manufacturers thought of a brilliant idea; turn a mobile phone camera into a bar code scanner! And viola! The QR code was born.

Who knew?

So for the past 9 years, you have to wonder; why aren’t QR codes understood by everyone? Mashable conducted a survey of 500 Americans over the age of 18 to see what they know about QR codes. According to their infographic, almost 60% of people who participated were not familiar with QR codes. Of the 40% that were familiar, 67% credit magazine adds to their familiarity.

In my opinion

QR codes will only be successful if and when the majority of the population has a smartphone and understands the relationship between the two. Until then, they will stay novelty items amidst the advertising world. However, while we are all waiting for the above mentioned to happen, getting creative with QR codes can show that you are one step ahead of the rest. One idea is to put a QR code on the back of your business card. When scanned, your online portfolio or company’s website will show up on the phone’s browser.

Just for fun

Recently, QR codes have been popping up in some unusual places. A Seattle woman affixed a QR code to her late husband’s tombstone. Upon scanning the code, you are taken to a website with her husband’s obituary and photo album. A man did the same for his mother who also passed away.  And this past July, Korea organized the world’s first “QR Code Film Festival”.

Clearly, QR codes are here to stay. But will they ever become an advertiser’s go-to tool?