Don’t follow this Rabbit down the hole

Anyone old enough to remember all the excitement that was caused by the Rabbit?

No. Not that Rabbit – although admittedly that one has created lots of excitement for lots of people, especially Sex in the City characters.

And to be fair, the Rabbit I’m thinking of was met with a hysteria that bordered on the orgasmic. So there are parallels.

This is the Rabbit I was thinking of. The mobile phone from the early ’90’s.

Look at this shop sign and gaze on yesterday’s vision of tomorrow. For a brief period – very brief as Rabbit folded after 20 months – this is what mobile communication would be.

You’d carry a massive hunk of plastic round with you and when (if!) you could see the Rabbit sign, you were theoretically in a mobile cell and could thus make a very brief phone call before the battery died.

The phone call made would normally consist of nothing more than you excitedly telling a family member you were near a Rabbit sign and was calling home to share the novelty:

“Darling, i’m living in the future. Shall I pick up a Vienetta for dinner whilst i’m stood outside this SPAR?”

The Rabbit is long dead. Although, for the hipsters reading this blog (there’s loads of you, i know) I reckon adding a Rabbit sign outside the window of your Dalston flat would definitely help your Klout rating whilst also making you look more enigmatic in a post-tech kinda way. (In fact, there’s one above a newsagents by Tottenham Court Rd station if anyone’s interested? I’m sure the shopkeeper, bemused at the ironic interest shown for a rusty sign he’d forgotten about, will part with it for a few quid).

But enough of this idling. My purpose is to warn you that there is a new Rabbit in our midst. A rabbit that we’re all blindly following. This rabbit is called QR Codes.

QR codes. Really? Honestly?

They were everywhere over Christmas with even the most sensible brands going weak at the knees for them.

Maybe I shouldn’t be so cynical. Research recently published showed that over the Christmas & New Year period, 12 real people who didn’t work in marketing, advertising or media, stood over a can of baked beans and triggered its QR code. Unfortunately 5 of those people weren’t in an area of wireless connectivity and so failed to access the short film on festive cooking with said product.

Don’t get me wrong, the idea of trigger points to content is hugely important. Cleverly tying virtual things back to physical things – and vice versa – is one of the next frontiers. But let’s all be honest and admit that QR Codes are a stepping stone to more sophisticated, intuitive, visual recognition technologies: ones that are contextually tailored to the different situations and scenarios we encounter through the day. Let’s experiment and learn, but not fool ourselves this is an end point.

End points don’t exist.


    We try things, we learn, we move on.  Next along comes Zeebox; it’s all about passive tags, baby. 

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