Saturday, August 18, 2007

Bottle Of Tea

My colleague recently returned from Japan with a bottle of green tea, and on it was a peculiar looking sticker with a hidden QR Code underneath. So I try to find out what one can do with it.

The QR Code contains the URL: and can be accessed from either the mobile or the PC. However, they do not have a mobile version of their website if you access via your phone. From what I can understand, these special stickers are only placed on drink bottles sold from vending machines. There is a 14 digit code on the sticker for the user to collect points, which in turn can be used to redeem certain prizes once you've accumulated enough points. The user is also supposed to create a login ID before they can start entering the 14 digit code and collect points, but it isn't obvious on their site on how to do so.

I am not particularly impressed with the process (the prizes seem pretty nice though), but I think it is worth noting that Japanese companies are willing to print QR Codes even when the barcode has so little to do with anything else other than to direct mobile users to their site (they actually spell out the encoded URL on the sticker too, so the QR can be totally unnecessary). I am sure that a lot of companies outside of Japan will question the benefit of printing this kind of 2D barcodes for such little purpose, and this is one of the main reasons why the rest of the world is still lagging behind Japan in terms of mobile barcode adoption.

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