Chuck and Norris’s ‘Examples of How To Use QR Codes’ from New York City

JDR Office Mascots Chuck and Norris went on a trip to New York City over the winter break this year, and were kind enough to take me with them (here they are in Time Square, a few hours before the new year’s eve celebrations).

Chuck and Norris in Time Square New York2

As a result, I was lucky enough to spend a few days wandering around the shops of Manhattan and got a chance to observe some marketing strategies first hand.


There were a few things I noticed – firstly, I had a big double take when I saw this: the first ‘One Direction’ store, opposite Macy’s. With queues out into the street! Unbelievable.

One Direction Store Manhattan1

Secondly, there was another first: a 3D Printing shop. If you are not yet aware of 3D printing, it is a technology which could completely transform the nature of manufacturing and commerce – it could lead eventually to a ‘Star Trek’ style machine in everyone’s home which can produce any product on demand. I can just ask for, say, a cup of tea and a biscuit and it will ‘print’ them out for me straight away.

3D Print Shop Manahttan

The 3D shop was a temporary project where you can buy a 3d printer, buy products made on a 3D printer, and even design your own plastic products on an in-store computer and then print them out.

The most noticeable thing about Manhattan however, was the amount of QR codes. Here are a few examples:

1)      In A Car Window

The ‘Junkluggers’ car had their graphics/livery company produce a simple sticker for their window, sending mobile users (like me) who wandered past the car to their website.

 QR Code in car window resized 600

Chuck says: “In Manhattan, there’s a LOT of passing footfall – thousands and thousands of people will walk past this car every day.”

2)      In store to get email signups
Zabars is a famous store in New York, popular both with locals and tourists. You can buy fresh bagels, cheeses, cured meats and pickles as well as classic New York pastries like rugelach, black and white cookies and babka. It’s quite an experience bustling around the busy aisles, with shelves bursting to the seams with delicious food.

QR Code In store   to get email signups2 resized 600

Norris says: “What Zabars do which many other retailers fail to do, is capitalise on the one-off purchasers – they give you catalogues of gift baskets you can order and have a website which allows you to order online (they deliver all over the world). So when tourists visit the shop, they can collect their email addresses and turn them into distance customers by staying in touch with them and reminding them of their great products.”

3)      In the window of the Niagara Falls Whirlpool Aero Car

As well as Manhattan, we also had a few days north of the border, in Toronto, Canada. Niagara Falls is a short drive from there.

Chuck and Norris at Niagara resized 600

This attraction is a cable car which travels across from one side of the falls to the other, downstream where there is a large whirlpool.

 QR Code In tourism attraction window resized 600

Chuck says: “Just like a restaurant menu in the window lets you get a feel for what the experience might be like, their QR code takes you to the Aero Car website where you can see pictures of the view.”

4)      Church advert on motorway sign

I snapped this sign walking down Broadway; it takes you to the church website.

 QR Code on motorway sign resized 600

Norris says: “Religious organisations are not generally known for their love of technology, but this Manhattan church knows their audience!”

5)      In estate agent window

Each property in this window has its own QR code. So if you see a property you like, you can scan the code and get more information and photos from your phone or tablet.

 QR Code in Estate Agent Window resized 600

Chuck Says: “Once you’ve scanned one of these codes, it’s also incredibly easy to then share these pages with other people – you can email, tweet or text the link quickly to a friend or family member. If me and Norris were flat hunting, this would be really useful…”

Trends in New York usually end up in the UK, and already most direct mail, flyers and posters we see have these codes. As time goes by there will be more and more interesting and innovative ways to use these codes. It was hard to find anyone in New York without a smart phone, and tablets were everywhere. QR codes have gone from being a fun, niche marketing idea to being a really important way to get the most from your advertising, point of sale displays, signs and graphics.

Norris says: “Remember, just using QR codes is only part of the story -there needs to be a great mobile optimised website or app to send them to or the interest will just be lost. To find out more about mobile marketing, mobile websites and mobile apps, download ‘The Ultimate Small Business Guide To Mobile Marketing’. After all, it’s free, and it tells you everything you need to know about reaching customers on smart phones and tablets.”

I couldn’t have put it better myself.

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Article by Will Williamson