3 Examples of MS Tags (not QR Codes) in Marketing

After my last article (3 Reasons to Use MS Tags) I got to hear from a lot of naysayers in the QR Code industry that had made up their mind already.  They didn’t care much for my post.

Others were supportive and felt like they found a leapfrog technology over QR Codes. I’m glad I could help.  This sort of healthy discourse is why I started the 8pm Warrior blog.

Since this has been a very hot topic lately (almost a thousand views the last couple days), I wanted to do a follow up post sharing a couple pieces that I’ve had designed using MS Tags.  One of my fellow 8pm Warriors (Mary Fitzgerald) asked to see ways that my team has used MS Tags before.

Here are some examples:

First, grab the MS Tag reader for your smart phone at http://gettag.mobi (you should test it to see how it works).

The MS Tag size is nice for business cards.  We were able to go slightly below the 0.75 inch size that is recommended.  That helped us keep the type of design we wanted when designing a card on clear plastic.

As you can see (below), it didn’t have much room for a massive 1×1 inch QR Code.  With the use of an MS Tag, we could have our cake and eat it too.

In the Clear Medical Network poster below, we started off using QR Codes.  However, many people thought they were bar codes and that we were selling the posters.

Since they are free for college guidance counselors, that was obviously a problem. Our fix? Use a colorful and fun MS Tag.  (See below)

Again, here we used an MS Tag to bring this fun Insider Show video series to life with a colorful tag.  Nothing says fun like lively colors.

It was nice that the free online MS Tag creator made the tag and the instruction box. Obviously most 8pm Warriors don’t have a lot of time, so this is a nice feature.  Since just about anyone can make one, it also leads to lower design costs.  Simple, colorful, fun.  (See below)

After looking at some real world examples, check out the MS Tag showcase site to see what other great organizations have been using them.

The good news is that the 2D tag industry is still in its infancy, and you can choose whichever method you want.  Don’t always listen to everything you hear.  I was told that many designers hate Microsoft, so they will always oppose MS Tags over QR Codes.

Try both (QR Codes and MS Tags) for yourself to see what you like.

Have a great night


Published by Aaron Biebert

I'm a director, film/video exec producer, leader & 8pm Warrior. I am passionately chasing my goals at all times. I'm listening. Let's talk!

7 comments on “3 Examples of MS Tags (not QR Codes) in Marketing”

  1. Ryan, it really seemed that it was design specific. If the MS Tag was the key focus of the design, then I think the full explanation is best. However, if you have limited space, I would highly recommend using minimal instruction copy around the MS Tag.

    You can see that we kept it pretty minimal in the middle example, but used a full explanation in the third one.

    Few people have MS Tag readers (or QR Code readers for that matter), so it’s important to have some sort of clue or instruction how to use it.

    Hope that helps!

  2. You mention “massive 1×1″ QR codes. I have samples in front of me right now with .5625” square codes that scan perfectly.

  3. Mike, that’s great that you found a smaller one. I’m sure that both the MS Tags and QR Codes can be smaller, but I was going off the recommended sizes.

    The business card example above was actually below the recommended size and it worked, so I know that the limits can be pushed.

    Also, the thing about QR Codes is that the more info you put into them, the bigger they have to be. I’m guessing it is a smaller URL or something?

  4. I am out at interop this week and have seen a few of these tags, but in all cases but 1, even the marketing people didn’t know what they were.

    None of the scanners on our phones recognized the tags, so we weren’t sure if they were a new tag format or a lame viral marketing logo until we saw one with text under it identifying it as an ms tag. still no luck reading it with any of the installed scanners, but qr codes are everywhere, and I can grab them with my phone from 10 feet away off the posters in the booths.

    Would anyone really pay for full color printing just to help Microsoft co-opt the market for 2d barcodes?

  5. Sean, there was a time when people didn’t know what Blu-ray Disks were or couldn’t watch them on their old DVD player. Just because something is new, doesn’t mean it isn’t better.

    How many scanners do you have on your phone? You should only need a Tag Reader and QR Code reader. Also, MS Tags come in black & white, so don’t worry about needing full color if you can’t afford it. :-)

    Sounds like you’ve got some vested interest in the old QR Code technology. Good luck with that.

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