Why McDonald’s Use Of QR Codes To Find Nutritional Info Is Brilliant


There’s a whole bunch of discussion this week about McDonald’s adopting QR codes on their bags for customers to scan in order to access nutritional information. And judging from the reactions in comments and on Twitter, many marketers can’t figure out why.

People understandably don’t get this move because, well, no one uses QR codes. They were a terrible idea initially and most brands have realized this and dropped them. A short URL is far, far easier. You don’t need to install anything, they’re universally understood, readable from far distance, etc. Short URLs are superior to QR codes in all ways. The only people benefiting by their use are the companies who stand to profit by selling QR code related tools or services, not consumers.

And this is exactly why it is brilliant for McDonald’s to use them. Do you think they really want users to see nutritional information? Of course they don’t, or they’d have put it in restaurants prior to having legal reasons to do so. If they did want people to check out this information via the bag, they’d use a short URL with clear CTA (note, current CTA above the code is unspecific). Also, is McDonald’s core demographic part of the 5% of Americans who actually have scanned a QR code? Of course not. PS: it’s also brilliant for them to do this because they received a wave of press for it.

And now your moment of zen, for brands or marketers who still think QR codes are a good idea:

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