Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Nick Ford is Captain of The QR Code Galaxy

Below is my interview with French blogger Vandy Khamsay.

Introducing your company. Tappinn is your own words.
Tappinn is a web platform that easily enables subscribers to build unique, "QR-connected" mobile pages and sites (Smart Sites) that are compatible with ALL smartphone web browsers. Generate and manage unlimited QR codes for these pages while tracking them all using the Tappinn analytic suite. QR codes are only as valuable as the content behind them. Tappinn believes that successful QR code campaigns start BEYOND the CODE.

The Tappinn Solution

 -Upload images and link them anywhere on the web
-Create links that will prompt the phone to call or email a specific contact
-Build mobile user submission forms within pages to collect user info (enter to win or signup)
-Create links to social profiles and blogs
-Virtual address cards (vCards) that can be downloaded directly your phone with one touch
-Customize button and background colors for a unique combination
-Tappinn pages automatically include share links to FB, Twitter, email and "like" button.
-Pages can be turned into QR codes to share  
-Update and change page content in real time  
-Alias URL's for targeted branding

 -Name and categorize QR codes for every application
-QR codes are stored on the platform under the pages that they generated for.
-Easily generate codes use them immediately.
-Unlimited QR code generation and scans are allowed for no additional cost
-View top hit codes and pages, recent scans and pages landed on from the dashboard
-Track everything (page views, landing code, scans, geo locations, devices) and run CSV reports

What are the difference between QR codes and other 2D codes?
The 2-D barcode world is complex due the closed (indirect) proprietary codes on the market. This has contributed to the early adoption problems that have faced the technology often confusing the end user. The QR code is the only open format (direct) code that anybody can generate for free. Not only that, there are over 100 different apps that read QR codes due to their openness as opposed to the closed proprietary market where codes can only be read with app specific to the code. (ex. The only app that reads Microsoft Tag is Microsoft Tag) This is why I believe that the QR code makes the most sense in the long run. App creators are starting to think differently about what apps to build QR code reading function into. We are now seeing large retailers like Best Buy and social networks building QR code scanning function into their apps.

Who are your competitors and what makes you preferable over other companies offering comparable solutions?
There are lots of startups who are offering QR code or proprietary technology to communicate from print to mobile devices. The concept of scanning a code with your phone to instantly retrieve web content is FIRE but a majority of these companies are too caught up on the code itself and not focused enough BEYOND the CODE. This is far different than most QR code management platforms because of the tools and attention dedicated to the “QR-connected” page building process. The advantage to this is having a complete platform making it simple to build, deploy and track 100's of custom pages and QR codes all under one platform. Also, Tappinn QR codes are friendly to all QR code readers and we are currently working with some of those apps to offer rewards for scanning Tappinn Codes.

How do you earn money? Describe your business model?
Unlimited access to the Tappinn platform is a $49.95/mo subscription.  The membership includes unlimited QR code scanning, tracking and management within the platform. Companies and agencies can build 100's of unique "QR-connected" mobile pages which are all hosted on Tappinn's secure servers. This offers a complete package of page building, QR code creation and analytics that can't be found anywhere else on the web. Agencies can set up separate companies underneath them which will include an additional $49.95/mo subscription per company. This enables them to segregate client analytics and content within Tappinn. Agencies can also create username and passwords for clients and allow them to view only their analytics on Tappinn. Development options for the Tappinn team to build your site based on hourly design fees are available as well.                   

What are the best uses of QR codes that you have seen?
The TAG Heuer campaign powered by Tappinn is by far one of the most efficient, context sensitive QR code campaigns on record. The luxury watch brand built mobile product pages and galleries on Tappinn centered around their watch collections and celebrity ambassadors to use with Tappinn QR codes in their national print advertising. The difference is this "QR-connected" mobile site can be cloned and customized on Tappinn for ANY of their retailers. A customized TAG Heuer-Retailer site overlays store logo on every page, contact info, social links and a "find us" mapping function specific to the retailer location. This is brilliant because of the high demand for QR codes and MOBILE content. TAG retailers can sign up on Tappinn and instantly plug in to their own customized TAG Heuer mobile site that they can generate and track unlimited QR codes for. Retailers that have signed up already include Macy's, Jared the Galleria and Tourneau among others.

Why do your QR codes have a red square in the upper left corner? Is it a way to identify and recognize Tappinn’s QR codes?
The red square is not only our trademark but also symbolizes our dedication to delivering rich, secure, targeted mobile web content. We believe that in order for QR codes to carry weight in the physical world there must be value built in beyond the code. This is a philosophy that sets us apart from competitors and the red square allows users to recognize a great experience BEFORE they scan. EVERY code generated on Tappinn will include this red mark as an additional benefit to subscribers.

I’ve recently been asked about how QR codes will survive in the long term with RFID coming, what are your thoughts?
Wasn’t RFID supposed to be coming 4 years ago? Lol. RFID will be huge, NO doubt, but only for certain applications. The most efficient use will be in the form of secure mobile payments and mobile wallet function. Anybody who thinks QR codes took a long time to catch on will suffer the same anxiety waiting for this tech to go mainstream. There is currently one device on the U.S market (Nexus S) that's RFID enabled, not to mention the access to RFID chips are limited and costly. Also, it will be extremely difficult to create custom tags offering targeted content for unique contexts, unlike QR codes. I personally think there will be niches for a few different technologies in the mobile space converting the physical to mobile-digital.

What does Tappinn need or is looking for?
Tappinn is looking for brands and agencies that are hungry to connect with and deliver value to consumers via the mobile device in the form of QR code engagement. "QR connected" mobile content will become its own segment in the market and early adapters can be experts. 
What is your ultimate ambition for QR codes and Tappinn?
My dream/goal/ambition is the day that all consumers subconsciously perceive QR codes as valuable, especially the codes with the red square in the top left corner :) People will go out of their way to scan codes in the physical world purely because of the value and exclusiveness that lies BEYOND them. I can clearly visualize this world and I am captain of it.

Tappinn BEYOND the CODE                                     

Monday, December 13, 2010

The Ultimate QR Code For Business Cards by Tappinn

QR codes on business cards is not a new concept. Codes have been randomly popping up on the business cards of computer geeks and "techies" for over 2 years. Used in a variety of ways, QR codes on business cards are usually linked to a company website OR contain contact information (vCard) which can be downloaded instantly to the phone. This makes tons of sense given that the ultimate objective of TODAY's business card should be to land in someones digital contact manager (Outlook) or be bookmarked, followed, friended or mapped. The FASTEST way to allow this from a 2inch by 3inch piece of paper is to use a QR code, NO DOUBT! This can only be true if done correctly though. Let's look at all of the ways QR codes are being used on business cards  to understand the landscape.     

Common functions of QR codes used on business cards. 

-QR Code links to companies website (mobile or non mobile) 
-QR Code links to a Facebook profile 
-QR code links to Twitter page 
-QR code links to a blog 
-QR Code links to Linkedin profile 
-QR code links to Google Maps coordinates 
-QR code contains contact info (vCard)

This list is meant to give a snapshot of how QR codes are being used on business cards and the thought behind it. Tappinn has recognized that ALL of these QR code functions are important but much too static and inefficient by themselves.

Introducing the "Code Card", the ultimate QR code for professional business cards that includes all of the above and much more. Code Cards are created on the Tappinn platform and include a suite of analytics and custom design options that make them special to each Code Card holder. In essence, Code Cards team QR codes with a trackable, custom mobile "landing page" that includes your contact info, website, social profile links, phone prompts, logo, photos, map, Vcard and easy sharing function including a Facebook "like" button. This QR code solution ensures that your business card can be used as viable new tool for connecting with contacts in 2011.

Build "Code Cards" with an unlimited subscription to Tappinn BEYOND the CODE

Monday, December 6, 2010

QR Codes Used as Post-its on Advertisements

True Romance is a collection of diamond bridal rings and affordable bridal jewelry that reflects classic American design. Using the Tappinn platform and "post-it" themed QR code frame, this bridal brand gets it right with QRcodes! I'm in love with post-it QR codes!  

QR Codes Are Old, Yup, So Is The Internet

QR Codes are an OLD technology”… WTF? I keep hearing this from the tech-snob QR haters on Twitter or in the blogosphere as part of the famous “QR codes will never go mainstream” argument. While the QR code itself does in fact date back to 1994 when it was invented by Denso Wave as a quick way to track auto parts in Toyota factories, it has taken on a completely new identity when teamed with TODAY’s web-enables mobile device. Make NO mistake about it, 15 years AFTER the QR code was born, it is augmenting our lives in NEW ways every day! We are an instant gratification culture who already craves decoding celebrity gossip from the pages of US Weekly. QR codes could easily be the new form of content crack rock that U.S. consumers get hooked on as mobile continues to emerge into a behemoth. There will be MILLIONS of new mobile web users born into the world in 2011 btw. #Fact

Big in Japan. YES, Japan started using QR codes well before the U.S…. WE KNOW THIS. That does NOT mean they are that far ahead of us from user experience perspective. The devices over there simply aren’t web friendly enough to allow it. I’m also not sure the Japanese were using HTML 5 four years ago. Were they?  Americans have become so accustomed to hearing “Japan is light years ahead of the U.S. in mobile technology”. While this may be true for some unique applications, we still see the Japanese line the streets of Tokyo for the iPhone release. Hmmm. If they are so far ahead of us then why do we see a record demand for an American mobile device?

Ralph Lauren debuted the first QR code advertisement in the U.S. almost 3 years ago! Again, the devices were NOT in people hands yet for campaign to be as effective as it would be, say, today. To give you an idea, Android didn't exist. Part of the criticism about QR codes is that they have been around for awhile but have NOT caught on to the masses. If you exclude Blackberry (QR experience sucks) from the equation, REAL web-enabled smartphones are only about 15% of the market. The potential is ridiculous, no wonder QR codes don’t have mass adoption. It’s simply a numbers game. To bet against QR codes as a legitimate medium for mobile web content delivery, at this point, is like betting against smartphone growth! 

It’s all about the web, baby. Apple was first to bring real internet experience to the palm of our hands and now we are hooked. Each day a new Smartphone user is born wondering how they ever lived in the land of flip phones and limited data plans. NOW, freshly equipped with the web in the palm of their hands, these consumers are open to an entirely new world. The ability to access content from anywhere on our phones via the web is evolving at lightning speeds. For another example, take a look at 1D UPC barcode scanning. Same principles apply. The 1D barcode has been a staple of our society for decades yet they have only recently become useful to everyday consumers when scanned with particular app to open up a world of information that can be valuable to the buying process. This is a completely NEW model revolved around an OLD technology (1D barcodes).

SO the question is....Should QR codes even be considered "technology" at all OR are they just an ingredient to a larger "quick response mobile web technology" landscape? 

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Who Framed QR Codes?

Tappinn has introduced a concept called "Framing" into the QR code marketing world. This is NOT to be confused with "Designer QR codes" or actual QR code manipulation. These easy tools that Tappinn subscribers can use in their advertisements to enhance engagement and curiosity while separating the code from the ad's artwork. QR code "Frames" could be a big step forward in the evolution of QR (Quick Response) communication because they expose the creative possibilities of code usage in print advertising.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

QR Codes Are Fast For TAG Heuer in WIRED Magazine

WIRED Magazine readers are probably the best audience for QR codes in these early stages. Check out the picture and video of a TAG Heuer QR Code scan from an ad in the December issue of WIRED Magazine. QR Codes are lightning fast, anyone who disputes this is a "rah-tard" and needs to check the vid below.

Friday, November 19, 2010

American Eagle QR Codes in Times Square

Scan the QR Codes and recieve a coupon (screenshot below). American Eagle is flashing giant QR codes between promotions on the digital billboard above their store in Times Square.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Pictures of QR Codes On The Front Page Of USA Today!

These are exclusive pictures of the November 11th, 2010 issue of USA Today. There is a Tappinn QR code on the front page of a TAG Heuer and Jared ad. FRONT freaking PAGE! I have yet to see QR codes on the front page of USA Today until now. This is great for QR codes in general.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Mobile QR Codes Hit The Wall Street Journal

TAG Heuer and TAPPINN have collaborated in quite possibly the most advanced QR code campaign on record. I will be writing much more about the unique model that sets TAG's effort apart from other mammoth brands using QR codes in their advertising. It doesn't get better than this! Email me if you would like exclusive content for your blog. Holler!

Monday, October 25, 2010

Cha-Ching, QR Codes Are Money at Starbucks

It looks like Starbucks is moving forward with the mobile payment pilot program that they rolled out in San Francisco and Seattle to over 300 New York City stores. This will not only help manage the long lines that New Yorkers dread, it will also be another monumental step forward for QR code recognition. I LOVE the idea of people associating QR codes with money!! This spells VALUE. QR codes will be seen as a form of digital currency to Starbucks goers who are newbies to mobile codes, which is freaking fantastic! Once the consumer masses identify QR codes with Cha-CHING, it's GAME OVER. Consumers will forever equate QR codes with value.

Mashable story here

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Diddy Talks New Album and QR Codes

My boy Sean Combs (aka Diddy) will apparently be using QR codes to promote his new album coming in December. At about the 1:02 mark of the video he gives the plug. I'm surprised that we haven't seen more out of the music biz when it comes to pioneering mobile QR campaigns. We'll see, maybe Puff Daddy will get it right! Holler at me, Diddy, you need to be using Tappinn.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Danica Patrick Is Driving QR Codes, Literally!

TAPPINN inc. - Danica Patrick will make QR code history on Saturday, October 9th in her #7 Chevrolet as she debuts the world's first race car strapped with a QR code on the hood. The NASCAR Nationwide Series 300 is in Fontana, CA  at 4:46 (et) and will be televised on ESPN2. The QR code was incorporated by Danica's primary sponsor for the race, Tissot Swiss Watches. Scan if you can!

I'm officially calling this "NASCAR with QR", catchy, I like it! Photos and video below.

Monday, September 27, 2010

QR Codes Symbolize More Than We Know

Okay…QR codes are seriously blowin’ up, homies! I am literally getting flooded with emails and news about NEW campaigns daily. For anyone who has been following the world of QR codes as I have, the hype has undoubtedly reached a fever pitch. The continuous exposure they are getting has been GIGANTIC for awareness, which is the obvious hurdle for the technology. Although QR codes can still only be appreciated by an elite group of smartphone users, they represent much more about who we are becoming as “consumers” and how we expect brands and advertisers to communicate with us. It makes me think about what a “QR code” really symbolizes in this NEW era of “anywhere” web content.

Today, sharp advertisers are thinking of consumers more as “content consumers”, first and foremost. The swift change that the internet brought upon traditional advertising can be attributed to one word, SEARCH. Once digital content around our niche interests and products could be searched and therefore found, the game changed forever. On-demand information and the “long tail” were born while one-way, broad, intrusive messages grew stagnant. So if we can agree that search has had a revolutionary impact over consumer content consumption and advertising, what happens when the ability to search and absorb web content goes completely MOBILE?

Web search is embedded in our culture. Googling words and phrases to find information has become a way of life for most of us. Websites, blogs, reviews, comments, photos, videos, forums, status updates and tweets are ALL considered searchable content. Each form of content serves as unique education to whoever is searching, depending on what they are searching for. There is an innate satisfaction that is had by consumers who are able to instantly feel knowledgeable (or perceive they are) about a brand, product or service that immediately pertains to them by the power of their own searches and clicks on the web. This is where I see QR codes as the trigger to a metaphorical loaded gun, with bullets being content. The user gets a feeling of “empowerment” by pulling the trigger, in this case, scanning a QR code.

Instant Education-Gratification“……. is a term that has been spawned by an online culture and is ripe for QR codes to own. It defines our emotional search for empowerment and feeds our craving for valuable content, instantly. The physical act of scanning a QR code is a lot like typing a keyword into a search box. It’s immediate and responsive with the user having full control. Now brands can deliver unique, valuable, unobtrusive web content to consumers through QR codes and mobile web content while tapping into the “emotional gratification” and “education” that search provides. QR codes are already the ultimate bridge between static physical media and its dynamic digital counterpart. This is a completely new way to think about the satisfaction they can bring if the content is valuable. This is when they become more than just a code, but a way of life.

Monday, September 13, 2010

QR Codes Hit Fifth Avenue Luxury in High Fashion (Press Release)

Luxury Manhattan Retailer Michael C. Fina Adopts New Technology and Builds “Mobile Storefront” to Celebrate NYC Women and A. Jaffe Platinum Jewelry

New York, NY; September 14th, 2010 – TAPPINN Inc., A mobile applications platform and QR code creative agency today announced their collaboration with retailer Michael C Fina, PGI-USA, and A. JAFFE to bring QR (“quick response”) mobile codes to Fifth Avenue. The retailer’s five massive storefront windows on 45th Street off NYC’s famed shopping strip are dedicated to the women of New York and the platinum ring designs that symbolize their character. Each window features a different QR code that shoppers can scan with their smartphone cameras to view facts about the platinum jewelry designs being showcased.

After the QR code in scanned, shoppers connect with a Michael C. Fina mobile-optimized site that includes easy contact (email, call) function, videos, product galleries, pricing, mobile wallpapers, information about designers and product pages with social sharing function including the Facebook “like”. There are 27 exquisite A. Jaffe platinum bridal designs being highlighted in the display, each with its own mobile page that shoppers can interact with and share from their phone. Demo of "Mobile Storefront" site below.

Michael C. Fina is located at 545 Fifth Avenue, at 45th Street, and the campaign will run through October 11, 2010.

“At Michael C. Fina, we’ve been committed to providing our customers with exceptional service for 75 years. This means not only working one-on-one with customers here in the store to help them select the perfect ring, plan the perfect proposal, etc. but also educating potential customers by distributing information in their preferred form; online or through a Smartphone. The QR code technology is going to allow us to reach a whole new range of New Yorkers in a way that is both comfortable and convenient for them. Once they see what makes platinum the most desirable metal choice and A.JAFFE so special, we are confident they will want to come in and learn more.” - Jacklynn Manning, Communications & Creative Director

A 2009 consumer study conducted by PGI-USA (Platinum Guild International) illustrated the importance window displays play in capturing the attention of pre-engaged women and men during the crucial engagement ring research period. More than 54 percent of the study’s respondent window shopped stores during their engagement ring shopping period, and they reported they were more likely to enter a store if they liked the products they saw in the window.

“In addition to revealing the importance of retail window displays, our consumer study revealed that pre-engaged women and men expect online educational content from retailers,” stated Michelle Peranteau, Manager of integrated Marketing for PGI-USA. “The Michael C Fina Mobile Storefront marries these two elements to create the ultimate platinum jewelry retail shopping experience. Before even speaking to a sales associate, shoppers will enter Michael C. Fina with in-depth knowledge of both platinum and their favorite A. Jaffe engagement ring.”

Nick Ford, Co-Founder of Tappinn, believes Michael C. Fina’s storefront will revolutionize the way retailers engage consumers, and do it in a nonintrusive way. “QR codes are rapidly becoming the most exciting thing to hit mobile advertising since the ‘app’ because consumers have control” stated Ford. “The demand for mobile smartphones continues to sky rocket and so will the demand for mobile web content. We believe consumers are craving to connect with their favorite products and stores and share those favorites from their mobile phones while shopping. Storefronts can be the ideal communication application of QR codes and retailers should embrace it.”

In addition to debuting the world’s first Mobile Storefront, the window displays will also feature model shots from A. Jaffe’s new branding campaign, which pays tribute to the company’s rich New York heritage. “Just as New York represents success, magic, romance and charisma, so does the confident woman who chooses a platinum A. Jaffe engagement ring from Michael C. Fina to symbolize her marriage,” stated Pooja Johari, Marketing Director for A. Jaffe.

About Tappinn:
Tappinn is a web application used for the building of web sites and pages that are optimized for mobile. These “Smart Sites”, make it easy for brands, retailers and agencies to deliver customized mobile content (pictures, video, text, coupons, product specs, ect.) to unique shopping environments using mobile tagging with QR codes. Page content can be geo-targeted around physical advertising media such as displays, posters, magazine ads, events, business cards, billboards and other forms of signage. The built in QR code management tool in the Tappinn platform also helps the advertiser generate, tag and track all responses to any QR codes used in a campaign. BEYOND the CODE or follow us at

About Platinum Guild International:
Platinum Guild International is dedicated to promoting Platinum and its pure, rare and eternal qualities to the consumer and the jewelry trade. PGI has offices in each of the world's major jewelry markets, providing information, assistance and education on all aspects of platinum jewelry. For more information please visit

About Michael C. Fina
Michael C. Fina is the perfect place to turn when celebrating all life’s many milestones, big or small. As New York’s premier family owned and operated retail destination, we have been providing customers with quality products and exceptional service for 75 years. The flagship store, located at 545 Fifth Ave. New York, NY, offers a stunning variety of engagement rings, wedding bands, fine jewelry, tableware, estate silver, and bath accessories.

For more information visit our website ( ), friend us on facebook ( ), or follow us on twitter ( ).

Thursday, September 9, 2010

9 Golden “Rules of Engagement” For Advertisers Using QR Codes

1) This is MOBILE, dude. Content must be mobile and properly formatted for ALL smartphone OS screens (Android, Apple, Blackberry, ect). Speed is everything, design content that can be efficiently outputted on a mobile device. This is a completely different animal than regular web design. Large buttons and easy "touch" navigation are crucial to user experience. Easy "contact" function can win with convenience. Keep the call, email and V-card buttons close by! Also, popular locations services such as Foursquare are becoming popular to incorporate as well.The #1 mistake made by early QR code marketers is using regular desktop pages as links in the codes.

2) People LOVE to share. Sharing content over the PC web has become ridiculously popular over the last 5-7 years. Sharing content over the MOBILE web is still pretty new but has explosive potential. You are already seeing it with adoption of text messaging (texting) and Twitter (tweets) which are both “mobile born” forms of communication. Everything MUST be easy to share on the go (galleries and product pages). Make it easy for users to post content on Facebook and Twitter in seconds. Make sure that the content is accessible on the desktop web also. Mobile to desktop sharing is still prominent. 

3) A new smartphone user is born every day, seriously, THOUSANDS of them. Don’t be discouraged by low numbers/scans. The success of phones like Iphone4, Evo, DroidX and Galaxy are obvious indication that the DEMAND is rising. Focus on the experience and users will come. Every engagement by a mobile user of scanning a QR code is a connection far beyond any traditional marketing thought. This is the first step in a new relationship.

4) Don’t get cute, focus BEYOND the CODE. I’m a huge fan of “designer QR codes” and I think they can serve a wonderful purpose for early QR code campaigns to build BUZZ. However, it’s early in the game and recognition is still relatively low, don’t get lost in the ad! Also, customized “designer QR codes” can’t be duplicated near as efficiently. It gets tricky if you want to run a nation wide magazine campaign with 6 splits a you would want a SEPARATE code for each split in every magazine for each month. Those who want to be specific and run different codes for different media applications will have a hard time achieving results they need with a “designer” QR code.

5) QR Codes are here to stay. There has been an ongoing debate between nerds on Twitter about whether QR codes will hit “mainstream” in the U.S. The answer is YES. Argument over. Deal with it, haters.

6) Deliver custom value wherever possible. In my opinion this is all about CONTENT. The mobile environment is a swirling terrain with unlimited possibilities. Create and deliver content that makes sense to your market and helps shoppers make honest buying decisions. If it's a magazine, consider the readers of THAT magazine and offer exclusives and target content around that group of readers. A QR code that leads directly to video in a loud atmosphere isn't powerful. A landing page where users can select the FORM of content they want is much more effective. QR codes that lead users straight to video are mostly ineffective.

7) Proprietary codes suck. The "QR code" is famous for its "three squares" in the top corners of the code. It's also famous for being OPEN. There are several codes that fall into the "2-D Barcode" family with QR codes but are NOT actual "QR codes". Microsoft Tag, Scanlife's EZ code and JagTag are often mistaken as QR codes when they are not. The problem with these proprietary codes is that they can ONLY be read be THEIR app which has fragmented the sector. So "QR code" readers can't even scan Microsoft Tags, ect. Last we checked there were over 60 different applications that read QR codes, none of them could read a Microsoft Tag, WTF. Get it?

8) Instructions are important. Keep in mind that a majority of users are still "first timers"so making it easy for them to download a QR code reader specific for to their smartphone OS is crucial. Shortcodes can be texted and a link will come back to the user that will download a reader. I prefer to list a short URL that users can type into their mobile browser to retrieve a reader like The landing page is then set up to visually guide people to the correct app with icons for each OS (Apple, BB, Android, Windows, Nokia). Once Facebook updates their app with a QR code reader most of these issues will be resolved.

9) Have fun! It is the dawn of a new day. New forms of communication centered around the smartphone device mean new opportunity to connect with your customers. Get creative and think LARGE.

(10??)BONUS! Oh yeah the biggest secret to all of this that WE built a platform to make all of the above EASY. BEYOND the CODE. Visit us and starting building today! Let's build a community

-Nick Ford

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Fox Network QR Codes. The Mobile Apocalypse Starts Now.

Fox Code. Gotta love it!. FOX Network has announced that they will be running QR codes after commercials to promote their fall lineup. I caught one last night for the new series, Lone Star. This is the 2nd best thing to a Facebook QR code IMO. No doubt that it brings HUGE exposure to QR codes and it's coming from a medium that had been an underdog to this point, TV. The code flashed quickly so I had to rewind my DVR to get the scan. It will be interesting to see how this evolves and if viewers pick up on it.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Apples and QR Codes

I have been playing abound with overlaying QR codes with images. Fruit works great! The vivid colors give enough contrast to do some awesome stuff. Here is a QR code and an apple! This is yet another example of why QR codes are better to work with for designers than other 2D barcodes. The versatility and room for freestyle allows designers have more fun!

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Mobile Marketing Innovation at MotoGP Featuring Models Wearing QR Codes.

The dust has settled at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca as the 2010 MotoGP Red Bull Grand Prix is a fast memory. The 3-day event was capped off by a Jorge Lorenzo victory followed by a Terrell Owens like celebration. For those who don't know, MotoGP is the premier motorcycle racing world championship; an eighteen-race series visiting fourteen countries, four continents and with pan-global television coverage. It's a big F@#k-ing deal. There are only two races in the U.S every year.

The event was buzzing with brands like Ducati, Honda, Red Bull and Oakly who were all trying to stake their claim in the hearts of race fans with promotional materials and products. The culture was thriving off colorful logos and brand presences.

The most impressive marketing effort came from the Swiss watch brand, Tissot. As the official timekeeper, they had an outstanding visual presence around the track. Tissot also got to host fans in a tent located on the infield of the track where they were selling watches like the Nicky Hayden 2010 T-Race limited edition. Within the tent were all kinds of fun thing to entertain and engage fans. From hot models wearing QR codes to a big screen TV with Augmented Reality, Foursqaure checkins and even a Nicky Hayden autographed helmet giveaway entry. The Tissot tent was rockin to say the least!

Not only were girls wearing QR codes on their shirts, QR codes were also featured on stickers, counter displays and even bus wraps! All codes resolved to different pages depending on their placement. This is by far the most impressive QR code mobile marketing campaign at a public sporting event that has ever been executed (show me proof otherwise). I might be a little bias though....All powered by Tappinn. Check out the video of scanning QR codes off of a model's shirt.


The QR codes and mobile "SmartSite" featured

-Event schedules
-MotoGP race calender
-Nicky Hayden videos
-Nicky Hayden mobile wallpapers
-Map of the track
-Watch gallery and shareable product pages
-Buy now options on watches

A video of the mobile "SmartSite" demo is at the bottom of the page. Enjoy the pics!

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

The GAP is Using QR Codes

The famous reatiler, GAP, is using QR codes in their direct mail catalogs promoting the new fall denim collection. The code resolves to a video of Patrick Robinson, The GAP's head of design, discussing the the new jeans. A retailer like The Gap using QR codes will only increase awareness with consumers. Hopefully they will start using codes in the store!

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

My Interview With

 Recently I had the pleasure of being interviewed by Roger Marquis at Here is the interview.

RM: Nick, your background is in traditional commercial printing. How did you make the leap to 2D barcodes?
NF: Several years ago, when I was at The Duratran Company, we were trying to visualize how we could make our clients' traditional print ads and signage that much more engaging and effective from an ROI perspective and, while trying to come up with a solution, we recognized how more and more consumers were using their mobile phones to aid in the purchase process. As we set out to find a way to tie the print ads and signs with mobile phones, we discovered 2D barcodes, specifically QR codes. In 2007, I partnered with Casey Ford and Kevin Galbavi to form TAPPINN, and here we are. Casey serves as CEO and Kevin as CTO.

RM: The word TAPPINN is supposed to stand for something, can you explain?
NF: Yes, the "TAPP" portion of our name stands for "Transmission Activated by Permission Protocol," and the whole idea behind what we are about is permission based communications between the brand and the user or consumer. We see a world where mobile advertising will be led by the consumer, meaning it will be up to them to decide which ad they wish to view and read about.

RM: You also use the phrase "beyond the code" to describe your business, please elaborate?
NF: The web platform that we have built and offer to both ad agencies and companies is full-service in that it does much more than just generate QR codes. The platform goes "beyond the code" by providing clients with the ability to inventory and manage all of the QR codes they generate, develop mobile web sites, or what we call smart sites, and track and report on campaign activity.

RM: Speaking of the QR codes that your platform generates, why do your QR codes have a red square in the upper left hand corner?
NK: The red square in the upper left hand corner is meant to represent quality.

RM: Quality in terms of what?
NK: Quality in terms of content. Similar to the idea behind Intel's "Intel Inside" campaign, we want consumers to be able to see our codes, recognize the red square, and know that the mobile web site that it links to is a quality site with respect to content. And, by the way of content, we mean that the site will be easy for the consumer to navigate, targeted to the consumer's need or interest and offer consumers the ability for them to share it in a sociable way.

RM: What do you mean by "share in a sociable way?"
NF: To us, mobile marketing is all about the user experience and the ability for consumers to share what they like with family, friends, etc. So, when a consumer views a TAPPINN mobile web site, they will notice on the bottom of the page four icons, which can be used to: 1) Facebook "Like It", 2) Twitter share, 3) email or 4) create their own QR code. We make it extremely easy for consumers to share and be social.

RM: What makes your creative design work different from others?
NF: When designing a 2D barcode-based print ad you can do it in one of two ways. First, you can design the entire ad and then insert the 2D barcode. Second, you can design the ad with the barcode in mind and then develop the entire ad around the code itself. We believe the second way makes more sense strategically and this is what we do with all of the ads that we are asked to design for our clients. It is also worth noting that often times the barcode becomes the ad's call-to-action, so here too we pay particular attention to where the QR code is placed and what it looks like.

RM: As I understand it,  you use open source to generate your QR codes. Could you speak more to this?
NF: Sure. In today's market, there are a few companies that generate proprietary 2D barcodes, which means that unless you have the scanner/reader software which corresponds with their proprietary code you will not be able to scan/read the code properly and link to the mobile web page that's intended to be seen. As an open source platform, we generate codes that can be scan/read by most any scanner/reader software. At a time when consumers are just learning about and getting used to 2D barcodes, we believe it makes more sense to make it as easy, and open, as possible for them to use and access the technology.

RM: If a company wishes to purchase your product what are the costs?
NF: We are a subscription site. Unlimited pages, unlimited QR codes.

RM: Who are some of your clients?
NF: We have done work with TAG Heuer, Hearts on Fire, Tissot, Spazio24, Fred Meyer Jewelers, Aetrex and others in the luxury brand space.

RM: Where do we go from here?
NF: We see the 2D barcode market ready to explode here in the U.S., and taking on a presence much like that found in Japan and Europe, which are ahead of us in many different ways. From our perspective, 2D barcodes will transform traditional print advertising and create a much richer, and more social, user experience for all.

RM: Thank you Nick.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Calvin Klein Jeans QR Code Billboard in New York City (Pics and Video)

Calvin Klein Jeans have been know for edgy billboards but in a different way. Check out this giant Calvin Klein Jeans QR code billboard on the corner of Layafette and E. Houston in NYC! The code directs users to a sizzling hot 30 second video, Calvin Klein style. This is another big step for QR code exposure and it makes me wonder why more advertisers aren't making the most of their billboards by doing the same. I scanned this code from over 100 yards away.