Academic journal article Management & Marketing

Qr Codes in Print Advertising: Elucidating Indian Vogue Using Content Analysis

Academic journal article Management & Marketing

Qr Codes in Print Advertising: Elucidating Indian Vogue Using Content Analysis

Article excerpt

Abstract. Last couple of years observed tremendous growth in QR Code usages in advertising worldwide. But, there is lack of knowledge on orientation of QR Code usage and various trends related to it like linkage with incentives, e-content encoding etc. Further, many expert opine that current application of QR Codes in advertising is somewhat causal and ineffective. This study attempts a preliminary investigation of above issues in print media, using content analysis approach. Analysis of data collected over one year in India suggested that consumer goods marketers are predominantly deploying QR Codes; majority QR Codes are not linked to incentives and QR Codes are mainly used for informative purpose. Analysis further suggested ineffective offline and online application of QR Codes in print advertising. At last, the study gives important implications for marketers and scope of further research.

Keywords: advertising, 2D barcode, mobile marketing, QR code.

1. Introduction

The penetration of mobile phones worldwide has been explosive and has already touched the 86.7% mark (Mob Thinking, 2011). The high penetration rate is an indicator of the commercial potential of mobile phones and it comes as no surprise that marketers are showing interest in mobile phones as an advertising medium (Wohlfahrt, 2002). This mobile platform offers diverse modes, matching desired communication viz. SMS (Short Message Service), MMS (Multimedia Messaging Service), Mobile Videos, WAP (Wireless Access Protocol) etc. (Beschizza, 2009). Even the specific characteristics of the mobile phone like geo- targeting ability (through Global Positioning System and Cell of Origin), ubiquity, immediacy, measurability and interactivity support the application of mobile phones in marketing communication (Bauer et al., 2005; Haghirian et al., 2005). Furthermore, in the past years, the mobile phone has gained more and more importance in the everyday life of consumers therefore making it the easiest way for marketers to communicate with them (Pelu and Zegreanu, 2010). Certainly, these advances have drawn attention from both researchers and marketers about various types of mobile phone based marketing tactics (Wohlfahrt, 2002; Trappey and Woodside, 2005; Davis and Sajtos, 2008).

One such marketing tactical tool is the Quick Response Code, generally abbreviated as QR Code (see Figure 1). QR Code is a 2 dimensional barcode (data matrix) which is designed to be scanned by a Smartphone camera, in combination with a barcode decoding application (Denso-wave, n.d.). Various such applications are available like QuickMark, Scanlife, RedLaser, i-nigma, QRreader which connect users to some specific e-content like a website, an email address, e-coupons, SMS, a registration form etc. (Handley, 2012; Bisel, 2011). QR Codes were first conceptualized by Denso Wave, a Toyota subsidiary in Japan in 1994. Normal barcodes had information stored in only one dimension (horizontally) and were seriously limited in the amount of data they could contained. Denso Wave developed this QR Code as a way of holding information in two dimensions (horizontally and vertically); hence a QR Code was able to accumulate 10 times more information than a normal barcode (Denso-wave, n.d.). Further, QR Codes supported quick and convenient tracking of vehicles, as they can be scanned at very high speed with great ease (Okazaki et al., 2012). Currently, various versions of QR Codes (from Version 1 to Version 40) are freely available along with decoding applications (Denso-wave, n.d.).

2. QR Codes in Marketing

Besides QR Code's efficiency in the auto industry, marketers later began to realize that the functionalities of the QR Code could be transferred to the marketing domain i.e. the potential to connect easily and swiftly with customers on the go (the quick part of QR Code) and encourage customers' engagement (the response part of QR Code). Thus QR Codes became commercialized in 2011, with the growth of telecommunications industry and Smartphones (Denso-wave, n. …

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