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What You Need to Know When it Comes to QR Codes and OOH

Do QR Codes work well with OOH?

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QR Code on NYC subway entrance
OUTFRONT Media for goody

What You Need to Know When it Comes
to QR Codes and OOH


OUTFRONT’S Front Street—Chad Shackelford, VP, Head of Digital Creative


Quick Release Codes, or QR Codes, were invented in 1994 by a Toyota subsidy, Denso Wave. It’s primacy purpose was to track car parts during manufacturing. Eventually it became integrated across the manufacturing industry. It wasn’t until the mobile phone in 2002, containing QR readers, that they were started to be used by consumers. QR codes are capable of storing lots of data. But no matter how much they contain, when scanned, the QR code should allow the user to access information instantly – hence it’s called a Quick Response code.

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When the iPhone hit the world, consumers worldwide had access, thereby compelling sales and marketing to use the QR code for brands. 

Now everywhere, from websites to advertisements, and of course, OOH.  As an increasing number of businesses use them, QRCs are becoming more recognizable. QR codes have integrated solutions such as traceability, brand protection, and anti-forgery measures. There are also many new uses for the QR code, from transferring payments to determining objects’ positions within augmented reality. 

COVID-19 has brought on more consideration and adaption of QR Codes including OOH. Do QR Codes work well with OOH?  There seems to be more adoption, particularly place based and street level OOH like shelters, street furniture and transit such as subways.

QR Codes can provide:

1. exclusive video content for entertainment brands with teasers, trailers and exclusive scenes or content
2. immersive experiences as an example for interaction for new car models
3. simpler online shopping for search and purchase as with CPG Brands with product benefits and info
4. touchless payment opportunities via PayPal or Apple Pay

When used in Out of Home, QRC’s can be leveraged to mass reach and drive one on one interactions.  

Is there more mainstream adoption of QRC by Outdoor and the OOH audience? Are you promoting or proposing their use with your advertising clients?

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Chad Shackelford, OUTFRONT Media’s VP, Head of Digital Creative, thinks so and shares as much in the newest Front Street episode⇒  A Place Where Out Of Home Learning Happens Fast: QR CodesIn the specific episode, Schackelford discusses how QR codes have made a comeback as consumers rely on touchless interactions. Today, marketers have a unique opportunity to engage and excite customers through the QR code. Check out the 2 minute 50 second video below.



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