The utilization of QR codes on public advertisements has presented marketers with the challenge of overcoming safety issues. In the state of California, the use of a mobile device while driving is illegal, so placing QR codes in ads on buses or billboards has many limitations (only passengers can scan the code or drivers will have to illegally use their mobile devices to get the information stored on the code).

Paul Brocky and Tom Catuosco have developed a more “driver friendly” alternative to the QR code in response to limitations the QR code presents. “The Road Code” is a four character alpha-numeric code that can be used as a redirect, similar to the way QR codes are used. Of course, this requires the audience to download yet another barcode scanning application to their mobile devices in order to take advantage of the Road Code. It also requires the user to remember the four digit code for later use. This says a lot about marketers’ expectations of their audience. Hopefully the incentive for downloading the app, remembering the code and entering it into the application is well thought out and useful (please don’t forward us to your website!). Here is a comparison of the Road Code to the QR Code:* The Road Code App:

  • Road Codes are more easily accessible
  • Free access to real-time information on the go
  • Utilizes its own “easy-to-use”
  • Code can be saved on the mobile device for later use

QR Codes:

  • QR Codes cannot be committed to memory (although some scanning applications do allow this)
  • Damage to the QR code can make it unreadable
  • Photo has to be taken of QR Code making them difficult to scan while moving
  • If the destination of the code is changed, a new code needs to be created
  • Cell phone signal and/or internet access are required for a QR Code to work

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