10 Cool And Inspiring Uses Of QR Codes: The Latest Hottest Thing

According to comScore, in June 2011, 14 million mobile users in the US scanned a QR code on their mobile device. QR (Quick Response) codes are becoming more and more popular since their introduction in the United States. They hail from Japan where they are used quite liberally. Some experts say that the trend might reach the same popularity, but only time will tell.

The study also analyzed the source and location of QR code scanning, finding that users are most likely to scan codes found in newspapers/magazines and on product packaging and do so while at home or in a store.

What are QR Codes?

QR codes look like UPC codes but they are capable of storing much more data as well as alphanumeric characters. You scan the codes with your mobile devices by snapping photos with a QR code reader.

QR codes are used by companies to market their businesses and extend the reach of their brands. When a customer/prospect scans the code with their mobile device, the code will reveal information the company adds to it. This information can be text or a link to a website or custom landing page. The marketing possibilities are endless.

How are marketers using QR codes? Here are some cool and inspiring uses and strategies:

Don’t forget to click the images for more information about QR codes!

1. T-shirts

Clothing of all sorts have become a popular background for QR codes. Hats, belt buckles and even tattoos are making an appearance.


2. Stamps

Use QR codes on envelope labels to display additional business information when you mail out letters and advertising media.


3. TV Commercials

Businesses are using television commercials to advertise special coupons in QR codes.


Bluefly.com used QR codes during a 45 second commercial for “The Real Housewives of New York City”. Scanners would be linked to a special video episode and given a discount coupon of $30 off $150 at Bluefly.com.

4. Creative Advertisement

Creative uses of color and style applied to QR codes:


This advertisement for Pepsi Max uses the QR code as an integral part of the ad. It is creative and isolates the code enough to draw attention to it.

5. Real Estate

Real estate professionals use QR codes to link to special websites or contact information.


Some realtors use QR codes to link to additional property photos viewable while a client is on the property. It can also be beneficial to display additional rental information and apartment specifications. Using QR codes for contact information is also a great way to get scanners to bookmark it and save it for future use.

6. Business Cards

A stylish example of what you can do with QR codes on an ordinary business card.


7. Product Placement

A creative representation of how QR codes can enhance your products:


The Montreal bakery, clever cupcakes, used QR codes on edible materials. Bakeries are now starting to adopt these methods and using edible QR codes to send customers to a Facebook fan page or coupons for future visits.

8. Special Offers

Coupons and special offers are one of the most popular uses for QR codes.


Restaurants can use QR codes on offsite ads to display special coupons and also to link to their menus. QR codes, in these cases, are great tools to display information that wouldn’t normally fit on a standard advertisement space.

9. Free Music Downloads

Music downloads appeal to the entertainment lover and offer a chance for artists to showcase their music.


Rock star Mickey Hart offers free music downloads to his fans. At his gigs, he hands out music cards with QR codes that link to free music.

10. Product Information

QR codes can link to additional product information in retail stores.


Stores like Verizon and Best Buy are already taking advantage of QR code technology. In the store, they use codes to link to user guides and additional product information that can be bookmarked for later viewing and shared with others.

Tip: Remember to make the information behind a QR code interesting enough to bookmark, share or keep customers coming back for more.

You should also link to a mobile website or web page. It’s very important to design a mobile experience for your customers/prospects since the platform calls for it. Also, send scanners to a landing page with a specific purpose. It should include a video, coupon or exclusive information only available to the person who scanned the code. This will increase your success rate.

There are literally hundreds of creative ideas and uses for QR codes. Have you used QR codes? What is your experience?

Jenna Scaglione

Jenna Scaglione is a writer, internet marketer, and a lover of family, friends and life. Jenna enjoys learning, growing and discovering the newest and latest trends on the internet. Known as "Lady Content", she lives in sunny Socal where she helps her clients around the world increase brand awareness on the internet through content writing and social media.

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  1. vlad says

    QR code is a great invention people made. I’m making mobile apps currently and find it really cool to implement QR codes into them. I’m amazed at QR code coupons Snappii app builder allows to create. They are really helpful for small businesses.

  2. Ken says

    The t-shirt, stamp, and cupcakes all have a problem – difficult to scan. T-shirts fold while you wear them and if there is a fold or wrinkle the scan will fail. The quality of the stamp in your photo is poor, so likely to fail. Printing on food has the same issues, quality and clarity. If a scan fails the user will move on. Gimmicky uses like these may frustrate consumers. Test, test, test your idea before putting it out there.

  3. Chris says

    Thanks for the great list! We did a bunch of interesting QR code projects for SoundRabbit, a band in Boulder, Co, including “Viral” music T-Shirts, where people can download songs from fan shirts. Fans can wear their favorite song, or a collection of songs to help share the music as they walk around town.
    There are so many interesting applications of QR code technology that are out there, and I’m super excited to see what’s next as the technology and implementation advances! Thanks again for the good collection!

  4. Morgan says

    QR codes are awesome, we too have been tasked with creating artwork for such insertions.

  5. Stan says

    Great list of cool ways people are using QR codes! People have been so creative with QR code use already, so it will be interesting to see how many ways people are using QR codes a few years down the road! You brought up a good point when you mentioned that it’s a good idea to link a QR code to a landing page especially designed for mobile phones that contains exclusive content or a coupon. Displaying a QR code in a creative place is a good start, but the QR code will probably result in the most success if it’s linked to something special or valuable.

  6. James Brown says

    I love some of the applications of QR codes in the post. You can see how these QR codes are becoming more and more popular. I see in Japan they have a supermarket with virtual products displayed on large screens and you scan the QR codes to enter the product into your basket.

  7. Tony says

    Although all of those examples are inspiring I would caution marketers to concentrate not so much on the placement of the QR code but on the destination it will lead to. I have seen many fun executions from the placement perspective but very few that actually deliver relevant content that provides value to the consumer.

  8. Affan says

    What should i say :) , i like all the designs , that you share with us. All the designs are really really awesome and inspiring. Mostly like number 4 Creative Advertisement .