American mobile marketing firms are looking to Asia and Europe for inspiration. They may have found it in QR codes, as mobile ticketing, payment, ID verification and other location-based uses are being invented for this technology.
But are the funny looking barcodes catching on in this country? The New York Times says no, not yet.
A company called Mobile Discovery, based in Reston, Va., is conducting the test at Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland in conjunction with the university’s engineering school, whose students are helping to manage it. Students and other people affiliated with the university can download software to their cellphones and then can get campus bus arrival times, order magazine subscriptions, enter a sweepstakes sponsored by QVC and get text alerts from USA Today, among other applications.
But interest in the pilot project, which started Feb. 1 and will run at least through May 15, has been tepid, according to students on campus, in part because of the cellphone fees associated with it.
Catherine Vermeersch, a fifth-year engineering student, for one, does not share that vision. “Students don’t perceive it as practical,” she said. “Why would anyone actually pay for advertising?”
There’s an easy answer to Vermeersch’s question. It’s not advertising people are paying for. Rather, it’s information they want or need.