Perception: QR Codes = Telstra?


Today Digital Media edition 7.0 (how very Web 2.0 of them) arrived on our table and on the back cover there is a giant QR Code. I had a quick glance and noticed it was actually an advertisement for the technology company QMCODES. No big deal, right?

I mentioned to my colleague that I’d recently forwarded on a press release for QMCODES for their information.  My colleague did a double take and then stated quite simply, “Oh, I thought it was just an advertisement for Telstra?”

Instantly we both realised that because Telstra most prominently uses the codes in mainstream advertising, the affinity had become quite apparant.

How widespread is this perception that QR Codes are a Telstra product? What do you think?

Jye Smith is currently Senior Vice President, Head of Strategy & Operations, Asia Pacific at Weber Shandwick. Ranked in B&Ts 30 Under 30, Jye a regular keynote speaker and workshop facilitator who specialises in digital and social media strategist.

There are 10 comments for this article
  1. Zac Martin at 8:53 pm

    Hah! I too was forwarded the press release and offer to interview someone from QMCODES.

    I think Telstra has done a great job attaching their brand to these codes, simply by getting in early.

  2. Jye Author at 12:17 am

    So is this a good thing for Telstra? Or is it a good thing for QR Codes and the technology?

    I’d like to see the technology taken up — but I’d hate for it to be only assumed to be associated with one mega-company.

  3. David Nightingale at 11:29 am

    The same thing happened with photocopiers – they are lovingly called Zerox machines regardless who makes them!

    Hills Hoist, Hovercraft, Boxer Engine, the teddy bear?
    The English call every vacuum cleaner a Hoover.

    The question is: Will QR codes go on to be known as Telstra codes?

  4. Antony McGregor Dey at 4:51 pm

    From where we stand the market is still very new and there is a lot of education still required both to the advertising industry and the consumer in general.

    Head of Sensis mobile Amanda Brook has been quoted saying “Mobile codes will be the greatest innovation in print advertising since the printing press”. Although this is a somewhat bold statement it shows Telstra’s commitment and confidence in this technology.

    QMCODES has been operating in this space for about 2 years now and ran our first major campaign with VICE magazine in 2007.

    The QMCODES Interactive Print Solution is carrier neutral but still delivers rich consumer engagement data. We know who has scanned codes published by us, their demographic data, including location, handset type and carrier amongst other things.

    Further we provide a one-click automatic opt-in process for brands who wish to capture a visitors contact data to be followed up at a later date. An example of this is our recent Melbourne IT campaign in the latest edition of Anthill magazine where they are offering a free trial of their email marketing solution.

    With one-click the consumers data including mobile number and email address is passed through to Melbourne IT to be followed up by a sales rep, this is a 100% opt-in process and as such complies with all privacy laws.

    Regarding the market perception of QR codes being a Telstra only offering. Although we can’t compete with the advertising budgets Telstra has to splash around, we are confident that there is enough existing knowledge about 2D barcodes at a global level that the market won’t remain confused for too long.

  5. Jye Author at 10:15 am

    Re: Biro etc — not everyone has an army of lawyers like Coke to stop that happening: I know there’s an official term for it too. Zac: I don’t think iPod is there yet, the terms ‘mp3 player’ and ‘portable media device’ are still very strong.

    @antony: thanks for your input, mate. I hope the market is no longer confused too — what can the industry do to help make this happen? What can technology companies such as yourselves (and I guess Telstra) do to help? Or perhaps Telstra wants to own this space.

  6. Jye Author at 11:10 am

    David, never too old! Thanks for the link — very, very interesting!

  7. Ben at 2:52 pm

    I am interested to see how these codes work in this market. So far there has been very minimal client interest in them across the categories you would assume the Telstra’s of the world need for them to become more than just a fringe ‘nice to have’.

    Our focus so far has been on working on complimenting the mobile phone as an actual content device – trying to find fits for advertisers – rather than looking at it as a DR/redemption/activation type device.

    Will QR codes be known as Telstra codes? Who knows – maybe for us media nerds … but I think John Blogs wouldn’t have the slightest clue what either means and would yet to be convinced of the relevance to him and his day to day, and that’s what’s important right?

  8. Jye Author at 8:16 am

    Hi Ben, some great points.

    I agree with you — I think it’s the mass market appeal and adoption that we should be looking at. Sure, they worked in Japan but by no means does that mean they’ll work here.

    I think it’s great Telstra went out there and jumped straight in – someone had to!

    Studies through AIMIA’s AMPLI and similar consumer mobile phone surveys indicate that consumers are still relatively slow to adopt new technologies. Even the adoption and understanding of 3g took its time.