Wednesday, 27 October 2010

Tesco's first QR-code enabled print advert

Mike Fethers, a buyer for Tesco Entertainment, has sent me Tesco's first QR-code enabled print advert!

You should be able to scan the QR code on the image he sent me below (click image to show larger version if needed) using your smart-phone with a suitable barcode-scanning app.

The QR-code contains an HTML link which is which gets converted by into 

That page is a deep link into our Tesco Entertainment site that enables you buy the game direct from Tesco. It's great to see QR-codes make the light of day at Tesco!

UPDATE: You can find out how many times that the HTML link has been followed by clicking this link! (Hat tip to @edent on Twitter)


  1. Looks really good. Glad to see a mainstream brand like Tesco using QR Codes.

    One thing - would it be possible to point to a mobile version of the site? The page that's linked to is a bit heavy - especially if you're only getting 2.5G speeds.

    It might also be worthwhile customising the URL to be a bit more meaningful. For example, I've just created which links to the same page but looks a bit nicer when scanned in.

    I look forward to seeing more QR codes from Tesco - especially now some of your rivals are using them.

    Keep up the good work,


  2. I get that scanning the QR code might be quicker than typing in the url (though in my experience probably not), but why not print the url alongside the QR code thus reducing the barrier to people without a scanning app installed or even the hardware needed to run the app.

    The real power of QR codes will be if they can be made to do more than just link to a url but actually perform what would usually be a multistep operation in one step e.g. add to basket.

  3. Grumble, grumble - any idea when the Android app will appear?

    Used to use it such a lot when I had an iPhone and would like it for the Android. Pretty please?!

  4. Works perfectly with Google Goggles on Android, it determined the link within a second. Quite suprised there was no mention of Goggles or Android in the ad though.

  5. "Use your iPhone or Blackberry...", so I assume that the anti-android bias infects the marketing department as well then?

    It would probably be better if you linked to a page designed for mobile devices rather than a desktop page.

    What is the point of going through You could have just generated a QR code for the full tesco URL (which frankly I would trust a lot more than a link through to a link shortening service which could go anywhere!)

    That said, keep doing this. I'd use the code if I was interested in the product :)

  6. Hi Gareth

    First of all Marketing only have iPhones and Blackberrys. no other phones have barcode scanning capability.....!

    The reason for was to keep the complexity of the QR-code down. The more characters you store in a QR code, the more complex is the pattern of squares and this is (possibly) more challenging to read by phone scanners.

  7. Hi Nick,

    Thanks for the answers. Android obviously does have barcode scanning capability, perhaps you could let marketing know about this :)

    It does indeed make the QR code less complex, but one of the benefits of technology is that it makes the complex more simple. My (android) phone has no trouble decrypting your contact details from that massive block of pixels on the right of the page. Any phone that can't manage to decode a simple URL has no business pretending it can read barcodes in the first place.


  8. "First of all Marketing only have iPhones and Blackberrys. no other phones have barcode scanning capability.....!"

    I'm presuming you're being ironic here. Aren't you? Please don't tell me you're being serious...

    James (who scanned it on his Android, and yes, it worked)

  9. James, I'm sure that one of the rules of irony is that one should not admit to it.

    So instead I will tell you that I have already pointed out to Marketing that one of them should get an Android phone. I might let them borrow my Nexus One as soon as our first app launches!

  10. Nick,

    I just posted this on Terence's site, but thought it might be of use here.

    According to Mike, that isn't the final press poster, he said it had been changed to "use your smartphone..."


    Also Nick, I think you of all people should know that the QR reader shouldn't have to be dependant on handset, all QR code scanners will read the code the same way.

  11. Would it also be worth linking to your new mobile site?
    The direct URL is - but you could either that or create your own URL shortner - or similar.

  12. Great idea to engage the reader but why no android enabled QR code.

  13. Why not grow your own URL shortener? I'd suggest, but it seems someone's nabbed it already.

  14. Hi Nick,

    How successful was the campaign? In percentage terms can the campaign be attributed by increasing pre-order by a specific percentage?

    I look forward to hearing from you.




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