You’ve seen QR codes, right? They’ve been popping up all over the place for the last few years. QR codes are two-dimensional “bar codes”, but can contain much more information than a traditional bar code. The idea is that you scan it with the camera in your smartphone and you can get all kinds of information; more than can fit on a poster, and in much less space.
Most often they point you to a particular web page (like the one above), but they can also encode vcards (contact information) or, with the right client software, compose an email or text message, or maybe other goodies.
Guinness have come up with a fairly inventive marketing gimmick. They’ve put glasses out there with QR codes embedded on them. The thing is, though, the code is printed in white. So, when the glass is empty, or filled with some weak, pansy, light lager, there’s not enough contrast to read the code. Fill the glass with inky black Guinness, though, and there’s a pot of gold under that geeky rainbow.
Of course, you could put any dark beer worth it’s name in there (or a cola, if you’re so inclined) and it will work just as well. However, since the code “tweets about your pint, updates your facebook status, checks you in via 4 square, downloads coupons and promotions, invites your friends to join, and even launches exclusive Guiness content” there’s probably not much point.
Cool marketing, though.