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Greg McMaster Creative Planner at SET

Some have opined that QR code use in Japan is actually declining in
some sectors. Are you finding this?

It has not been our experience that QR code use is declining. I think what
might be happening is that consumers are possibly tired of them in their
current form. I think this is where a design revolution is needed. People
need a reason to click through. We think that codes such as the Louis
Vuitton one and others we have up our sleeve will show that simple color
and clever ideas will increase use in much the same way that clever ad-
vertising gets people to pay attention.

Do you think that this crossover--bringing the worlds of popular cul-
ture and art into the QR code space--will fuel more interest in and
demand for QR codes beyond Japan?

Already we are being approached by agencies abroad to discuss collabo-
ration. I think that this will indeed open up new possibilities. We are one
agency but we are keen to see what happens when others work out how
to do it and start putting their creativity into it. The business behind the
QR code has its obvious appeal to marketers so I am sure we will see
increased use outside Japan. Already examples are starting to creep up -
Kanye West, Ralph Lauren, H&M, etc. They just haven't realized how
much nicer they could have looked if they had come to us first!

What are the remaining barriers in North America to widespread use
of QR codes (for example, cost to users and the lack of standards or
preloaded code reading applications)? Is it a technical/infrastructure
question or just a mindset question?

I just spent a few weeks in Australia talking up the codes to brands and
agencies there and I guess one barrier is the perceived cost. Once flat
rate mobile plans become standard, consumers will spend more time
browsing and interacting on their phones. The QR code will provide a
gateway between the real world and the digital. I saw codes on the sides
of buses in Australia promoting movie releases. It was a kid's film and so
that is obviously one way the codes will take off abroad. Kids today seem
to have no trouble with technology, so a couple of well-promoted exam-
ples of youth brand coding will have everyone jumping on the band-
wagon and consumers experimenting. Think Ecko tagging Air Force One
with a QR code--The next day everyone would know what they are. The
technology is there and the consumers are ready. It's up to the brands to
make them interesting enough to warrant a click

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