Scan this building

QR codes are still alive. Although I doubt they’re thriving. Except, evidently, on apartment buildings in Chicago suburbs.

My wife and I happened to drive past this atrocious QR code placement on our way to Evanston, IL for a Sunday afternoon of shopping.

QR code on a building
Click to see photo on Instagram

I did not try scanning the code—and I’m not convinced that even if I’d had time to open the QR code reader on my phone and line it up just perfectly that it would have worked. (The only time I’ve ever scanned a QR code was from close range when no one was looking).

Come on—let’s be real. How many times do you think this QR code has ever been scanned? I would be surprised if the the answer was more than once. That one scan, of course, performed by the building’s landlord. But perhaps not even the landlord has ever tested the code in it’s natural environment.

The next thing I ask myself, after I get past the fact that this QR code usage is terrible, is, “if someone were to scan it, were would it lead?” Would it go to a mobile-optimized landing page containing useful information about the units available and who to contact if interested? I sure hope so. My gut tells me, however, that a successful scan of the code would probably lead to the main homepage of some awful, not mobile-friendly realtor site.

QR codes were a fad for a few years. You would see them occasionally on a window cling or in a magazine ad, placed there by savvy marketers. I even saw a QR code on a billboard once! Honestly, I think marketers (myself included) are the only people who ever conjured in their minds that QR codes were neat, practical or beneficial.

The year is 2015 and it’s time for marketing QR codes to go away. They don’t get scanned, they have never looked appealing and the majority of people still don’t understand what to do when they see one.

I rest my case.