Have you ever seen one of these and wondered what it was?

It looks like a funky barcode, right? Well, that’s pretty much the gist, and we cannot get over how cool they are. What you see above is called a QR Code, which stands for “Quick Response.” Similar to a barcode, the little box above is meant to be scanned either by a QR scanner, a mobile phone with a camera or a smartphone. Once scanned, the information that appears can be in the form of text, a URL or other data.

The QR Code has actually been around for a while but is just recently beginning to be used frequently as a marketing tool, thanks to the rising popularity of mobile phones and smartphones. Some of the mediums where the QR Code has been deployed include print ads, billboards, in-store displays, websites, blast emails and direct mail pieces, just to name a few. While some QR codes simply display information about a company or product, others can take you straight to a specific website. Marketers are especially enthralled with this technology because of the ease at which they can monitor response rates. For consumers, it piques curiosity and makes for a pretty fun game of “guess what’s behind the curtain.” Now that the word’s out, we bet you’ll be seeing them a lot more, so keep your smartphones handy, folks. You never know what you’ll find.