QR Codes Go Ghoulish

QR Code on HeadstoneIt’s no secret that QR (“quick response”) codes, the Japanese communications tech import, have had a difficult time taking off here in the United States. It’s a topic I’ve blogged about before. 

Indeed, it seems that marketing people are more attached to them than anyone else.

And why wouldn’t marketers be excited? It’s yet another way to engage audiences “in the moment” and enable them to head over to a landing page on impulse to take an immediate action … or at least to find out more information.

But a mix of things – lack of complete smartphone penetration, lack of QR-enabling software on mobile devices, ignorance of how QR codes operate, or just plain laziness – have conspired to keep QR engagement levels far below what marketers were hoping.

But hope springs eternal. And now we even see the QR spirit rising in the grave marker business.

That is correct: At least four monument companies in the United States are now offering QR code services as part of the grave markers they’re preparing for families of deceased loved ones.

And the QR codes look just like you’d expect: one of those square splotch-marks, affixed prominently to the headstone. So now gravesite visitors can point their smartphone at the headstone and immediately pull up a biography, pictures, or even videos of the dear, departed soul.

One of the companies offering QR service is Katzman Monument Company, a Minnesota-based company that conducts its business completely online.

“It’s a chance for future generations to make a connection with a loved one,” company head Norm Taple reported to the Minneapolis Star-Tribune newspaper. “There’s no emotional connection when all you can look at is a headstone – probably a dirty headstone at that.”

Part of the fun is the person who maintains the login code for the deceased’s online information. While anyone can access information on the deceased via a smartphone, only that one person can edit the information … and he or she can do so at any time.

Want to beef up Grandpa’s legacy by having him graduating from Harvard as opposed to Haverford? Done in a flash.

Looking to spice up Great Aunt Emma’s early dramatic career by having her being a burlesque showgirl in Chicago? Just a couple keystrokes and it’s now in her official biography.

Kidding aside, it’ll be interesting to see if this latest manifestation of QR code technology is more successful than the other attempts to force-feed them to the public.

My hunch tells me … it’s doubtful.