As you may have heard, Heinz created a QR code to go on the back of their ketchup bottles, but when people linked to the QR codes… An interesting website would come up instead of what Heinz intended. This was about a year ago in Germany, and it’s still an interesting fiasco to talk about.
After Heinz found out about the “outdated” QR code, they were quick to respond, which is the best thing they could do in the situation. Heinz made sure to issue a public apology: “Heinz in Germany has apologised for the way in which an out-of-date QR code and website link to design a Ketchup label in 2014 has been reassigned to an adult content site. Clearly this was never our intention and we are taking steps to avoid this reoccurring.”
Heinz also made sure to send the customer who found this information out a free bottle of ketchup. Since the QR code was meant to lead to a site to allow customers to design their own ketchup labels, he was able to design his own ketchup label as well. An online security expert gave a statement that said, “QR codes can point to anywhere on the web. The problem is that humans don’t have a clue where they’re going to be taken because their brain can’t read a QR code, like they can a regular URL. It seems [Heinz] failed to renew their registration of the domain name, so it slipped out of their hands and was snatched up by an opportunistic porn site. Maybe in future they’ll think of redirecting any customers via heinz.com, rather than directly to a custom site for a specific campaign.”
The ways Heinz directly responded to the situation were extremely appropriate and thought out well. Heinz responded to the incident quickly and made sure everyone knew that this was not the direct intention, although it also would have been smart if Heinz took outdated ketchup bottles off the shelves in the first place. Heinz should be paying someone in their factories now to specifically check every single QR code that comes out of their company. The ketchup company can definitely afford that small job that helps in the long run.