If you ever wanted proof that alleged “spy photos” of motorcycles were complete bullshit, then we submit to you this latest news about BMW’s use of QR codes on camouflaged test mules. Embracing the process of teasing prototype as the marketing exercise that it is, BWM Motorrad has begun tagging its test bikes with large QR codes the passersby can capture, and thus find out more information about the under-wraps model they just witnessed.
In giving up the whole spy photo farce, BMW gains perhaps a little bit of credibility in the process (not really), but more importantly the German company has found a way to heist some free advertising out of unsuspecting motorcycle publications. After all, any publication running a photo of a bike with a QR code on it is also therefore also running an interactive ad that enables readers to go to an OEM-managed website. Clever.
The only downside to the whole process is that QR codes still have a low adoption rate with consumers (if you asked yourself “WTF is a QR code?!” at some point in this article, then you’ve proven our point. Still, it’s a clever marketing move from the Bavarians. Though, it will be interesting to see what the response from the motorcycle industry, especially from motorcycling’s media outlets.
From our perspective, Asphalt & Rubber isn’t particularly keen on giving out free advertising, especially when it help bolster the spy photo nonsense phenomenon that’s proliferating throughout the motorcycle industry.