Business Marketing

IKEA bypasses QR codes, catalog to use augmented reality

IKEA catalog 2013 augmented reality

IKEA proves in a 90 second video that their 2013 catalog will use augmented reality, putting another nail in QR codes’ coffin.

IKEA catalog 2013 augmented reality

IKEA’s 2013 catalog

For many, many years, AGBeat has asserted that QR codes were a short term novelty that would be used by marketers until the world caught on to augmented reality (AR – what is AR?). QR codes look great and make any brand appear in touch with technology, but the truth is, all it is is a code that points your phone to a URL, and we have long said it is more effective to simply print a memorable URL that people can refer back to later. AR, on the other hand, adds functions to marketing that wouldn’t otherwise exist; it adds a layer of reality… it… augments reality (get it now?).

For its 2013 catalog teaser, IKEA has unveiled that they will be adopting augmented reality in their future catalogs to add a layer of information and interactivity through mobile. The company has been printing their catalog for 62 years now, and the IKEA catalog is a staple on many coffee tables in America, and with their 2013 catalog, they say they will add “smart ideas, fun stories and beautiful products” to the print mix.

Check it out for yourself

[pl_video type=”youtube” id=”QQ8HNXtl7jQ”]

How it works

The IKEA Catalog App will be made available on July 31st for tablets and smartphones, and users simply download the app, turn it on, and scan select pages of the catalog. Scanning will unveil interactive experiences, additional photos, stories, other inspiration, and it will unlock films that cannot be seen without the app.

In an interview with, Andreas Dahlqvist, Vice Chairman of ad agency McCann New York—the agency that reimagined the catalog said that the agency aspired to bring ‘IKEA creativity’ to the catalog itself.

“One of the catalog’s new main features is an accompanying (soon to launch) visual recognition app that will bring its pages, and the offerings within, to life in the form of inspirational videos, designer stories, ‘x-ray’ vision that peeks inside furniture, and more.”



  1. ginidietrich

    July 19, 2012 at 5:11 pm

    THANK YOU for this find! I do a big trends section when I speak and this is going in it. I’ll give you attribution, but don’t tell Lani. She’ll insist I pay for it.

  2. frelinekvall

    July 20, 2012 at 3:11 am

    @annika Oj vad spännande!

  3. Hillaryl4i5ta

    July 20, 2012 at 6:12 am


  4. roansown450

    July 20, 2012 at 8:56 am

    @annika Articles for dirt cheap! #seo

  5. AGBeat

    July 23, 2012 at 1:00 pm

    @hpgretech AMEN.

  6. TimAyres

    July 23, 2012 at 2:19 pm

    “…QR codes look great…” What? Um, no, they’re butt-ugly and that’s half the reason they’re TERRIBLE.

  7. NickWest1

    July 23, 2012 at 3:30 pm

    Any idea what the cost of AR is likely to be?  QR codes have the benefit of being flexible directing users to email, phone call initiation or a web page and they are very cost effective for small business.  I agree with Tim Ayres, they are ugly but it will probably be many, many, many years before AR catches on.  It could be Betamax (AR) vs. VHS (QR) all over again.

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