Waitrose is pioneering the use of QR codes in a television advert that allows smartphone users to directly download the company's festive app.
The advertisements being shown on UK television feature a special barcode, known as a Quick Response (QR) code, which links to a Waitrose Christmas app that provides recipes from celebrity chefs Delia Smith and Heston Blumenthal.
The app also includes an advent calendar, turkey timer, Christmas day planner and a store locator.
It is available for iPhone, iPad and Android and can be downloaded by scanning the QR code with a barcode reader or Google Goggles. ZDNet UK was unable to download it using an HTC Desire running Android 2.2 but it posed no problems using an HTC Hero running the 2.1 (Eclair) version of the software.
QR codes were created by Denso-Wave (a subsidiary of Toyota) in 1994 and are used far more widely than in the UK in countries such as Japan and America.
On mobile phones QR codes are used most frequently for quickly directing users to a specific URL or to add information from electronic business cards — also known as vCards. Outside of the mobile arena they have also been used for commercial-tracking applications.