My wife's doctor suggested she use an exercise bike to recover from recent knee surgery. The one we wound up buying had a QR code on the box which takes you to a promotional video (the link is embedded in the QR code shown on the left).
I didn't watch the promo video before buying the bike and I'll bet most other prospective customers don't bother with it either. It's nice to see manufacturers using QR code technology, but I can think of a much better application than on-box advertising: enhancing or replacing the assembly manual.
When I opened the box I found it contained the typical assortment of screws, nuts, washers, all the various parts of the bike and, of course, an assembly manual. I hate assembly manuals. They're often too vague and sometimes even include the wrong information.
A video, on the other hand, is generally worth a thousand assembly manual words. Rather than providing me with poorly-written assembly instructions, why not show me how each part fits together? Manufacturers could either simply add QR codes to the written instructions or dump the print instructions completely and just have a code on the box. For viewing purposes, my iPhone is always handy and something like this would be far more useful than most of the hundreds of thousands of App Store products.
OK, I know everyone doesn't have a smartphone and some people would prefer to read the steps, not watch them; for those people, provide a url where written (and up-to-date!) instructions can be downloaded and printed.
When I replaced the cracked screen on my daughter's iPhone awhile back I followed video instructions, not written ones. I simply watched a step, pressed pause, did that step on my own, pressed play again, etc. That's exactly what I'd prefer doing for any sort of assembly project.
There's another benefit to manufacturer's with this option: they could ask every customer to register on their website. I would have gladly given my email address for access to assembly videos for that bike, enabling the manufacturer to follow-up with me later with cross-sell and up-sell messages.
This idea isn't just for assembly manuals though, of course. QR codes could be used in owner's manuals (how do I replace a broken tailight bulb on my car?) or any sort of how-to guide (how do I fix a leaky faucet?). Yes, there's a cost associated with creating all these videos, but it's a terrific opportunity to (a) provide more help to customers and (b) establish a direct relationship with those customers.