QR Codes Hit the Streets


Improve your mobile marketing strategy and your tan. Let’s all take a trip to Rio de Janeiro. It’s a city known for sandy beaches, skimpy bikinis and the biggest Jesus you ever saw. It’s also a city famous for its dazzling op-art sidewalk mosaics. Lately, these edgy Brazilians have taken things to mobile marketing to street level: mosaic QR codes. This innovative mobile marketing strategy was put together through a public/private partnership among the Secretariat of Municipal conservation, mobile media agency Zoio and a PR firm called Grupo Maquina. Their mission was to use mobile QR technology to bring important tourism tips and historical facts to visitors’ mobile devices. But this was more than just a clever way to leverage today’s mobile technology. It was a means to help beautify the city’s surroundings by removing unsightly directional signage.

“We were able to associate the Portuguese stone to a cool technology that is the QR code,” explained Marcus Melchior, the municipal secretary of conservation. “The project will disseminate culture and knowledge for all citizens and all tourists who come to visit.”

The initial QR code was embedded at Arpoador, a popular tourist destination near the beach of Ipanema. Each stone took about seven days to construct in order to achieve accurate scanning. These sidewalk barcodes can be easily scanned by downloading a QR code app to your smartphone. One click of your mobile device brings up a screen featuring a map of the city and detailed tourist information. The plan is for there to be fifty such QR code stations throughout Rio by the time of the 2014 FIFA World Cup.

So, how can leveraging QR codes leverage your brand? Here are some tips from our mobile media agency team:

  1. Never Say Never – Take Rio’s cue and think outside of the box. Don’t do what everyone else is doing. Challenge the technology to do more.
  2. Never Add QR Codes Just to Do it – A QR code that takes the customer a step further in the conversion process is ingenious. A QR code that simply takes the prospect to your website’s home page is worthless.
  3. Think About Your Target­ – Make sure the information on the other side of the scan is relevant to what they need and where they are. The Rio QR program speaks to the tourist where they are and tells them the things they need to know.
  4. Make Technology Your Tool, Not Your Toy – Never put a QR code in a brochure or ad to be cool. Do because it makes sense.

We are a Dallas Advertising Agency specializing in Mobile Marketing Strategy.