QR Codes for Fun?

We’ve all seen the use of QR codes become more and more prevalent as a marketing tool for companies, but could QR codes be used as a source of entertainment?  I’ll get there in a moment, but let me first set the stage.  Aside from my new gig as a marketing consultant with HMG Creative (I call it a gig because to me it’s fun), I also have the unique title of “Board Game Inventor”.  A couple years ago, a random event sparked an idea for a new party game that I coined, Spontuneous.  Check it out when you have a moment, but let me get back to my story.

I recently attended the World Toy Fair in New York City, where I rented a booth to promoteSpontuneous.  In doing so, I used QR codes as a marketing tool in a couple different ways.  The first was a large sign where toy store buyers could scan the code to download a press kit I had created with all the pertinent information they would need to place an order.  Several buyers scanned it, but a larger portion still preferred an old-fashioned hard copy; fortunately I was prepared.  The second use was a code on my business cards.  It directed the user to a YouTube video of the game being played with narration throughout and a call to action in the end.  Of the two, the video code was by far the most widely scanned.  Although effective, my strategy had room for improvement.

Now what really caught my eye had nothing to do with my own use of QR codes, but rather that of a couple other booths around me.  One belonged to Jacked Up Card Games, where certain playing cards within the deck had a QR code, that when scanned, would change the rules of the game.  The other booth belonged to 4 Clowns Game & Toy Company.  It was the first year presenting at Toy Fair for these clowns, but there’s no joking when comes to the amount of attention they received for their new game.  It’s calledCodigo Cube.

Codigo Cube is a larger-than-normal sized die with a unique QR code on each of the 6 sides.  Players roll the die and scan the facing code, which returns a trivia question.  If answered correctly, the player rolls again and attempts a new question.  If answered incorrectly, the Codigo Cube is passed to the next player.  The first to answer a question from all 6 categories wins!

The beauty of this idea, which they’ve patented, is that the bank of trivia questions can continually be updated with new questions and categories.  Another cool feature is that players can be given different handicaps depending on their knowledge, so kids and adults can play together despite different abilities.

What a novel way to use QR codes!  It’s a great game that the whole family can play anytime, anywhere and it will never grow old.  Keep an eye out for this one because over the 4 days I displayed across from 4 Clowns, it was not uncommon to see company executives from Toys R Us, Hasbro and the likes intently listening to their presentation of the Cudigo Cube.

So in looking for more effective ways to utilize QR codes as a marketing tool, I think the moral of the story would be:  Make it fun.  In addition to providing information; look for creative ways to engage the end-user.  After all, who doesn’t like to have a good time?