It’s no secret. I’m not a fan of QR Codes. I’m convinced these hideous square monstrosities are merely a passing fad, a marketing gimmick used to make clients appear to be tech-savvy or on the cutting edge. My main gripe with them has always been that they simply don’t work. Let me clarify, they don’t work the way they should… yet. Not only are they terrible to work with, the ugly little black boxes are supposed to be magically scanned by your smart phones (read: you’re supposed to take a photo of it with your phone camera) and then when you run the scan through a QR code reader (which you have to download and install) it will then magically take you to a URL (which you could have typed 10 times into your web browser by now). OK, I need to keep the energy positive and by now you know I’m not a fan.
That said, I still have clients that insist on appearing tech-savvy and cutting edge that request I use them. Don’t get me wrong, there are some clever ways to use QR codes, I just can’t think of any right now. I did see a Youtube video once of rapper Lupe Fiasco’s marketing experiment where he projected a QR code onto the side of a building. Fans flocked to it like zombies and snapped pictures of it. Once scanned, the QR codes pointed fans to a free album download. I thought to myself, OK, that is pretty cool. Unfortunately, when I see QR codes in printed material, I don’t get the same reaction.
This week I had a client reach out to me for some marketing materials. They were attending several shows throughout Europe, and they wanted some swag to hand out. Brochures, folders, flyers, etc. and they wanted me to place SnapTags and QR codes on them.
SnapWho? I have to admit that I hadn’t heard of SnapTags until I was tasked with using them, and of course I quickly Googled what it was and started reading up on the little gizmo.
SnapTag where have you been all my life? This little invention just may be what I’ve been waiting for: that new technology that will make the QR code disappear. Here’s an example of what a SnapTag looks like. Let me know when you find it:
OK when you’re done checking out Rihanna, look in the lower right hand corner. That little circle with the Facebook logo in it is a SnapTag. Pretty cool.
What is a SnapTag?
In a nutshell, SnapTag is a Unique Code Ring Technology. It’s also a patented technology (which means its not FREE). The guys at Denver, CO based SpyderLynk have invented this nifty little new and improved “QR code on steroids” that incorporates your logo. This makes it not only beautiful to look at but also serves as a branding tool.
Here’s an infographic by SpyderLynk that explains it:
Jackpot! I thought I had found just what I had been looking for. So logically, like I’ve done with QR codes, I tried finding an online resource for generating one. I couldn’t. I spent loads of time on SpyderLynk’s website and couldn’t find a way to purchase one, or generate one either. I’ve put in an email to them to find out what the deal is. If there is a cost associated with it, or if I need start a campaign, I need to know so I can share the info with my client. Until that happens, I’m on a deadline, so yes, unfortunately that means that I’ll have no choice but to roll with the QR code.
Cons: Not Free
The difference here is that SpyderLynk’s technology is patented. It’s proprietary so only they control it (and charge for it) for now. When Denso Wave invented the QR Code to track vehicle auto parts for Toyota back in 1994, they didn’t enforce the patent so everyone has been able to create their own QR generating and reading software.
Despite the fact that QR codes have been around for awhile they still don’t really work right. They are still clunky and ugly IMHO. SpyderLynk is a small startup and even though they aren’t going to make the QR code extinct overnight, I already feel like they have improved upon this technology in leaps and bounds. It really is just a matter of time before QR Codes disappear altogether (fingers-crossed). I can’t wait to start using them because they not only have actual marketing functions, but they look really good while doing it.
Still don’t know much about SnapTags? You should. Snap-Snap.
Do you agree that SnapTags are the “next big thing” ? Since QR Codes are free to use and generate, how do you feel about having to pay for the technology to use SnapTags for your own usage?
Resources and other articles about SnapTags
SnapTags: How They Work:
Chikodi Chima also blogged about SnapTags back in October of 2011
Publishers Weekly article on SnapTags
SnapTags: Will they kill QR Codes:
Ramon has over 19 years of experience in award-winning, market-proven, print collateral, marketing material, iphone/ipad app and website design specializing in corporate identity and branding. Ramon’s passion for entrepreneurial design was borne out of 10 years as Creative Director for Jay Walker at Walker Digital, the Stamford based idea laboratory and business incubator holding over 300 US Patents. Ramon served as Senior Art Director on the start-up launch team behind Priceline.com, a Walker company and invention. Most recently, Ramon's logo and identity work was selected to be published in "Typography and Enclosures" the fourth book in the Master Library series by LogoLounge.
Need help with your brand identity or want to overhaul your existing brand? Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org
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