Dan Huntingford, owner of SOS Printing in Seattle, agrees. “We’ve printed quite a few in the past couple years, but it seems to me it’s a fad that has pretty well fizzled out. I’m no longer seeing any interest. Of course, the problem is, locally, that no one really knows how to implement them and there is no profit for doing so. People seem to have gone back to more traditional promotions.”
According to the Business Week article, there is some indication that QR codes are indeed falling out of favor with the advertising community. It quotes one source as saying advertisers’ initial enthusiasm has tempered and that only 15 percent of his clients still use QR codes. One survey found that QR codes appeared in only 8.4 percent of magazine ads during the last quarter of 2011. On the other hand, they are being used more and more often at trade shows, POP displays, galleries, museums, medical facilities, and other such venues.
QR codes have never been the only player in the game. Microsoft Tags were once major competitors, but seem to be fading. Also, there are other technologies such as near field communication (NFC) that could horn in on the QR code’s turf. At drupa, Ricoh introduced Clickable Paper technology, a cross-media service that lets users point iPhone or Android smartphones at any printed surface that is Clickable Paper enabled and receive related online content.
Whether or not QR codes are here to stay or are destined to be supplanted is really not the question because, as I heard one printer recently comment, “It’s not about the technology, it’s about the message.”