ARTICLE: QR Codes…Really!

Originally published on

Today if you mention QR Codes to a room of people you may well get a mix of reactions from curiosity to dismissal. Not that long ago we were inundated with these little codes in North American marketing. They showed up on t-shirts, moving vehicle wraps, wild postings, every print ad and even in television commercials.

While North America was throwing QR codes around everyone, the rest of the world were putting QR codes to practical use. Lessons we’ve taken into account for our own products.

Invented in Japan by Denso Wave in 1994 for the automotive industry to track vehicles, the QR code only grew more popular when smart phones started to scan them. In Asia, India and Europe they are a part of daily life. People order food with them, scan products and make direct payments. In 2018 the Bank of Thailand approved plans by five commercial banks to introduce QR code payment services. In China 1/3 of all mobile payments use them. (that’s $1.65 trillion in one year alone).1 They’ve been used as currency in the Royal Dutch Mint where it was designed into coins, on the 100-rubles by the Russian Federation, into credit cards and even gravestones by a Japanese stonemason.

Recently Vicimus has incorporated practical QR codes on letters linked to personalized webpages enhanced with imagery allowing for more effective one-to-one communications and higher conversion.

What are the best ways you can apply practical QR codes for your dealership right now?

  • Directions to your store linked directly to google maps
  • Easy subscription sign-ups for your newsletters and social channels
  • Display them on showroom and lot vehicles with links to walk-around videos, download brochures or view dynamic window stickers
  • Direct access to coupons and discounts without having consumers input long URLs
  • If your sales staff have their own webpages on your site or are active on social channels, place QR codes on the back of their business cards to help grow their online social currency
  • Of course, we introduced QR codes into Bumper direct mail letters to make it quick and easy for prospects and customers to instantly open up their personal webpage

QR codes used for practical purposes are making a noticeable comeback. Much of this new wave has come about as tech companies and social channel heavy hitters started to quietly add support for them into their platforms. Apple slipped in native QR Code recognition to their iOS 11 update. LinkedIN offered scannable profile images to use. Facebook offered a QR code option for page promotion. Others are following close behind as Instagram tests out their Nametage codes and Snapchat introduces Snapcodes.

In 2014, 25-30% of developed nations used QR codes extensively. Statistia recently conducted a new survey that forecasts close to 11 million households in the United States alone will scan a QR Code by 2020.  Currently, 4% of all transactions globally are made via QR codes. 2

Practical use of QR codes will give your customers smart, easy, quick options to interact with your content and with your business.

Have you been using QR Codes in interesting ways? We’d love to hear about it.




About The Author

Todd Lawson has worked as an gallery artist, commercial artist and a creative leader in advertising, design, illustration, CGI, publishing industries and software product design. As well as a leader in the automotive marketing space since 2002, Todd has been fortunate to have done some great work, worked with some great people and been recognized globally for it. He works with companies at all levels of development to lead, mentor, ideate, grow teams, guide projects, face to face interaction with clients, partner with vendors, seek out new technology and trends, plan and execute. See artwork, marketing projects and more articles at