Urban Decay’s eye make-up featuring colors Rockstar and Mildew.

Urban Decay, created by Wende Zomnir, has always been at the fore-front of trends in terms of creating something new and exciting when it comes to make-up, for example, using wicked names to describe colors like Moonshine, Sin, Road Kill, Mildew, Dew Me, and Heavy Metal. Not only did the brand turn Goth-like elements and the urban detritus of society into a name-game for their products, but they also have a robust new media strategy (some 70,000 Facebook “likes”). Which is why it comes as no surprise that Urban Decay is the latest in a string of brands now using QR codes for branding and marketing.

While we’ve been writing about QR codes for some time now, many of our subscribers, particularly in advertising and marketing to youth culture, are fascinated about this format coming emerging in the States. Although not yet as prevalent as in Japan where most everyone’s mobile phones are QR-code compatible, brands on the fringe are taking charge, including Marc Jacobs collection in Japan, and Set Japan’s creations for Louis Vuitton and artist Takashi Murakami, and a Frisk mints viral video clip on YouTube (whereby the mints are in the shape of a readable QR code). Even Paris street artist Space Invader created his tile PacMan art into a QR code.

In the case of Urban Decay, they created a display at Sephora using QR codes that basically allow people with smart phones that are QR compatible to get cool behind-the-scenes footage from Urban Decay corporate, how-to tips when it comes to make-up, and general advice.

QR codes are one of those things to watch and start utilizing now as this is clearly the trend of the future for advertising, marketing, and branding as more smart phones are becoming QR code compatible. In the cases of Set Japan and Urban Decay, they’re also being used as art, film, and a resource to generate curiosity.