In this week's issue of New York Magazine, there is an in-house advertisement featuring a QR code. The advertisement promotes an Android-based app, which enables readers to access popular nymag.com blogs directly on their mobile phone.
Good: the ad clearly explains that the blog app can be downloaded from the Android Marketplace and, to find the app at the Marketplace, a reader can either search for it or scan the QR code displayed in the ad.
Bad: the ad does not tell the reader how and where to get a QR code reader app, so that the QR code can be scanned in the first place. Seems like the cart is before the horse.
While this might have been an honest mistake, or maybe it was done on purpose, companies should not assume that consumers will know what 2D barcodes are and how to make use of them. Because 2D barcodes are still so new in this country, companies should fully explain the codes they are using, where and how to download a reader app and what the code will link to. This disclosure need not be wordy, just succinct and thorough.
Lastly, while Starbucks is merely a sponsor of the ad, I would be curious to know if Starbucks itself makes use of 2D barcodes. I believe I have seen something from them recently, but cannot recall. If you know please comment or email.