QR Code Reviews – Tannerite

QR Code Reviews - TanneriteMaking effective QR codes takes work.  To shortcut the amount of learning and work required, you can look at how others are using QR codes.  By using the best techniques you find and avoiding the worst problems, you can make your QR codes be the best they can be.

QR Code Reviews - Tannerite - QR codeToday we look at a QR code found on a package of Tannerite brand binary exploding targets.  If you are not familiar with Tannerite, it’s pretty cool stuff.  You mix the two components together, shake the mixture, and shoot it with a rifle or handgun.  I recommend a rifle since it makes quite a boom.  I’m sure there is a minimum caliber recommended but I have seen it work with a .223 caliber.  Back to the QR code…

The QR code is about 1 inche square and does not includes a URL or call-to-action.

The encoded URL is: http://www.tannerite.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/01/20secletterboxed.mp4

QR Code Reviews - Tannerite - iPhone screen

QR Code Reviews - Tannerite - iPhone screen in landscape

Overall rating: 3 out of 5

QR Code Reviews - Tannerite - Rating - 3 out of 5

7 Key Aspects to Great QR codes

Here are some important questions that all great QR codes need to answer:

Is there a good call-to-action near the QR code?

  • There is no call-to-action

What does the QR code look like (colors, design, etc)?

  • The QR code is the standard black elements but on the orange background of the label.

Is the QR code easy to find and incorporated into the overall design?

  • This QR code is easy to find, located on the front of the package but not specifically incorporated into the overall design.

What happens when you scan the code?

  • You are taken to a video that shows off the product.

If a URL is encoded, is the landing page mobile friendly and designed well?

  • The landing page is a video which displays well on a mobile device.

If a URL is encoded, does it utilize a redirect to help with future changes?

  • The encoded data does not feature a redirect and thus, would not react well to changes to file names or locations.

Does the action of the scan provide value to the customer?

  • The user is shown a video explaining the product.  With a product like Tannerite, it really helps to have someone explain what it is and to see it in action.  Since you can’t expect someone familiar with Tannerite to just stand around all day explaining the product.

What We Can Learn

I must admit, it was a surprise to see a QR code on this package of Tannerite.  Overall, Tannerite Sports did an okay job with this campaign but it could be better.  The QR code is about 1 inch square which is a good size for the complexity and location.  There is no call-to-action or URL.  When scanned, the encoded data is the URL of a video hosted on the company website (not YouTube, Vimeo, or similar site).  The video is short but it shows the product in all it’s explosive glory.

From a user perspective, the QR code is super easy to find.  Since there is no call-to-action or URL, I’m not sure how many people will be scanning it.  If they do scan the code, the video shows up well on a mobile device and shows off the product very well.

If you’ve not seen Tannerite in action, check out the video.  It’s been years since I first saw it but from memory, you mix the two parts together to activate the product.  Once the product is activated, all you have to do is shoot it.  From what I remember, you need to shoot it with a rifle and it would be a good idea not to get too close.  We were about 75 feet away and it sounded like a cannon going off (especially when a park ranger showed up and wanted to know what was going on).  Thank goodness for good shooting ranges.

How can we help Tannerite Sports?

The most obvious tip we can give to Tannerite Sports is to add a call-to-action.  People often need a reason to do something and a good call-to-action provides that reason.  Tell people what you want them to do and what they should expect in exchange for that action.  If your proposal is intriguing, people will scan your code.  Even if the call-to-action is not that good, it’s often better than no call-to-action.

The next tip would be to encode a redirect instead of the full URL of the video.  The result would be a simpler QR code and more flexibility to change the video as time goes on.  The way it is now, it will be much more difficult to direct users to an alternate landing page if the company wanted to go in that direction.


When making your own QR codes, keep the following in mind:

  • Mobile devices display videos very well.  A good video explains a product in a way text can’t.  If your product needs to be explained, consider a simple video.
  • If at all possible, never encode a long URL that points directly to a file.  The QR code is often more complex than it needs to be and any future changes are much more difficult.

We are starting to see QR codes on a large variety of products.  I’ve seen them on a can of black eye peasbrake padssilicone spray, a box of doughnuts, plantain chips, and many more.  What products have you noticed with QR codes lately?

If you have questions about how to get started using QR codes in your business, how to use QR codes more effectively, or how fix a QR code issue, let me help.   If you want to learn more about QR codes, check out my free e-book.