Bar Codes Bring Digital Media to Life

Written by 5ivecanons Staff

Quick Response (QR) Codes are two-dimensional bar codes developed by a Denso-Wave, a Japanese corporation, in 1994.

They are common in Japan and are beginning to gain traction worldwide due to the increase in mobile handsets with cameras and the mobile web. Using a camera phone equipped with a reader application, users can scan the QR code to display text, contact information, connect to a wireless network or open a web page in the phone’s browser.


Google recently introduced QR codes for Google Places, their local business center. Businesses can instantly extend digital media to physical locations, print, outdoor or packaging. This is an example of the QR code (if you have a scanner, this will link you to Google’s mobile site).

Microsoft has develop a proprietary (no surprise) bar code service called Microsoft Tag. For now, you need to use the Microsoft Tag app to scan their tags. What I do not understand about Microsoft’s approach with Tag is the creation of a new product brand and not simply a tool for Bing.

Also, their resistance to using the open source QR Code limits businesses to only communicate to specific Tag app users. You can download the app from your mobile browser @ Either way, I’m sure Tag and the bar code medium will develop further in the future as digital media and physical locations merge.


Pepsi created an innovative way to allow consumers to interact with brand packaging. Pepsi teamed up with Stickybits to distribute video through bar codes on products like cans of Pepsi and Lays potato chips.

“In 1996, Webpages became media. In 2001, search became media. In 2005, people became media. In 2007, status updates became media. Last year, places became media. And in 2010 Seth Goldstein, (chairman and co-founder, Stickybits) predicts objects will become media.” Erik Schonfeld, TechCrunch


Calvin Klein Jeans recently displayed a QR Code Billboard that links to their mobile site where users can watch commercial video or connect with CK Jeans Facebook and Twitter pages. I love this buy, never before has outdoor advertising been able to engage the next step of a purchase decision.