DUBAI: Advertisers in the Middle East are increasingly using QR codes alongside their print campaigns as a way of attracting young consumers.

The National reports that firms including Dusit International, a hotel chain, Ajman Bank and mp3 service Music Master are all experimenting with the system in their print ads.

QR codes, the use of which was pioneered in Japan in the 1990s, can be scanned by a smartphone, directing the user to a website.

Advertisers commonly use them to serve consumers with discount vouchers, links to offers or more information about their products.

Music Master's campaign is tied in with an offer to download free songs.

"If you scan the QR code, you're instantly taken to the website, so there's no chance that the consumer will forget the website address, or forget to even go there," Edward Bagnall, the marketing and communications manager at Music Master, said.

"Most people nowadays have a smartphone. I think the audience we're targeting, the 16 to 27-year-olds, are all savvy enough to know what a QR code is ... No one is really doing this in Dubai."

Ed Harris at DDB Dubai, which helped develop the campaign, added: "It demonstrates that regional advertising can be every bit as clever as that we see coming from top international agencies."

Last year, a report from Netasia suggested that 76% of Japanese mobile phone users had previously scanned a QR code with their phones.

Data sourced from The National/Netasia; additional content by Warc staff