Marketers – which one of these billboards do you think would get more responses?

If the point of putting a mobile call-to-action on a advert is to get the consumer to do something with their phone, why is the industry continuing to use a fucking cryptic graphic that less people understand than a URL?

(Updated) The common argument is that mobile users save a handful of seconds by scanning a QR code. Back in 2005 when I first started playing around with the codes, URL’s looked a bit like this:

www.vodafone.com/offers/uk/xsi282$3wudydcjjssover

Now they look a bit like this:

is.gd/goto4

Oh and don’t forget the large percentage of phones that have a physical or virtual keyboard.

So is that single-digit time saving really worth excluding 69% of UK consumers?

I read a great post by Rachel Beer which pretty much sums up what’s happening right now:

“Yet, as with any new technology, QR codes are merely a means to an end for marketers. They are enablers to big ideas. They aren’t the big ideas themselves. Some brands are merely riding the novelty of QR codes, rather than doing anything interesting with them.”

…and Sean Cummings in the post called “Why the QR Code is failing“:

People will not adopt a technical solution that serves to replace a manual task, if that solution is less efficient than the manual task it replaces. How could we think that QR codes for marketing would work any better than CueCat? Did we not learn the first time?

Even John Gruber weighs in:

QR codes are built for machines, not humans. And they’re ugly.

Please make it stop.