Monday, June 11, 2012

Maybe Interactive Print Will Be Better Than QR Codes

I think many of us in the marketing community can agree that the execution of QR codes in US advertising has been pretty mediocre. We've struggled not only to make use of the technology but also to teach consumers how to properly access it. Even among the tech savvy, some smartphone users don't realize you need a special app to scan a code and simply take a picture instead. I&I's own Ruth Lim recently showed us that in Asia QR codes are much better executed. Maybe it's time for us to move on and work with the next piece of cool mobile tech. Last week, a start-up called Layar released their new iPhone app for augmented reality magazines. And it. Looks. Cool.

Here's the idea behind Layar: a publisher releases a print issue of a magazine and simultaneously, supplies Layar with a media file and an image of the print page to include in it's database. A reader then opens up the app and takes an image of the page similar to how you'd scan a code. The app matches the picture with the one on file and supplies the user with the appropriate media. Now this is no transfer to a website like with QR, this app layers the media right on top of the page, so it looks like the page is moving ala Harry Potter.

Check out the video:

Just from the clip, you can imagine the kind of impact this could have on upcoming ads. In their article, Gizmodo mentions things like tappable links that pop up next to product recommendations but I'm most curious to see how developers experiment with making whole elements on the page move and interact with each other. I think it would be cool to see the model or celebrity in the add start talking to you about the product right from the page. Does the technology allow for a purchase applet to open up right in the middle of the page? Who knows! Simply the fact that Layar deals with a whole page of visual and text based content leads me to believe marketing efforts using this will be received better than with QR.

If you're a marketer who dabbles in both print and digital marketing, take a closer look at Layar's website. Start getting the word out to your audience so that they can get the app and understand how to use it. We'll certainly be keeping an eye out for updates and examples of Layar in practice, hopefully the work will be positive and won't end up on a site like this.


  1. Yeah, QR codes were outdated before they even got popular. Simply too much effort to take out your phone and scan a code for not enough information gain. Maybe Layar has something better

  2. I can see Layar working much better with a technology like Google Glass - rather than having to think to open an app and scan something, a device could automatically detect when something Layar-accessible is within sight. The device would then deliver a pop-up notification allowing the user fast and easy access to the extra information delivered by Layar, without depending on the user to remember to open the app and scan something.

  3. I love these videos...makes everything seem so easy and wonderful. But if there is universal adaptation to the tablet (Ipad) then the need for this goes away.