QR codes

QR codes have been around for ages but it’s very rare that you find anyone with a decent word to say about them.

Occasionally we come across case studies which show that QR codes can be successful in the right circumstances, with the right CTA, a powerful incentive and when someone forces you to scan one at gunpoint, but in general they haven’t justified the time wasted on them.

I’m not saying that smartphone users will never be persuaded to scan advertising, however it will take something more alluring than a QR code before the technology catches on. 

And if you’re still unconvinced that QR codes have failed to live up to the hype, then check out these 10 examples of QR code madness

Augmented reality

Back in 2010 the MMA predicted that a new wave of products which combined location-based services and augmented reality would “not only fuel adspend but also transactions.”

This obviously hasn’t proven to be the case, and I’m yet to see any truly convincing uses of AR for either practical or marketing purposes. But that obviously hasn’t stopped me from fueling the hype by knocking out regular list posts of AR marketing campaigns.

Anecdotally, we receive far fewer press releases about AR marketing campaigns now than we did a few years ago.

Top Gear Magazine’s AR trial

This could suggest either that fewer brands are experimenting with AR, or that it has lost its PR value. I think it’s probably the latter as the use of AR is no longer newsworthy in itself. 

Instead people want case studies on successful uses of AR in marketing, which are very difficult to come by.


At Econsultancy we were as guilty as any of over-hyping the potential for NFC to radically alter the way in which consumers make payments and interact with advertising.

It seems like an easy and convenient way for consumers to receive data – they tap their phone, the information is transferred to the device, and they can go on their merry way.

There have even been some high profile trials of the technology involving global brands. For example, Visa used the Olympics to showcase NFC payments around London.

Furthermore there are plenty of NFC-enabled handsets on the market, notably from LG, Nokia, Motorola and Samsung.

However as yet the technology seems to have been kept away from consumers, as if tech companies feel we’re not yet ready to experience it’s awesome power.

The more likely reason of course is that the technology is not yet ready for widespread consumer adoption due to the complexities of setting up a secure eco-system that relies on the cooperation of several different industries (e.g. mobile operators, finance companies, card issuers).

And now that Apple has decided to focus on iBeacons rather than NFC it could be that the latter’s never fulfils its promise.

And to finish…

Here are two trends that I’m glad we’ve hopefully seen the back of forever…

Apps vs. the mobile web

Back in the bad old days people used to genuinely debate whether it was better for companies to go for a mobile app or a mobile website, as if each different business and industry should be bound by the same one-size-fits-all approach.

Thankfully we seem to have moved on from this debate, thanks in no small part to the advent of responsive design and HTML5.

The line between apps and mobile sites is becoming increasingly blurred, and marketers largely accept that decisions on mobile platforms should be driven by business objectives and user needs rather than simply trying to adopt the latest trendy technology.

“There are more mobile phones than toothbrushes in the world”

Not a marketing trend as such, but if you’ve ever been to a conference then there’s a 100% chance you’ve heard someone trot out this utterly unprovable and ultimately pointless catchphrase.

Admittedly this is a rather niche bugbear, but if we work together we can ensure that the trend of using this go-to buzzphrase will also die a death.