Seen any BlackBerry barcodes lately while out and about? You may want to scan them

Seen any BlackBerry barcodes lately while out and about?
By Bla1ze on 21 Jun 2010 10:00 am EDT

It seems as though Research In Motion has stepped up their game a bit when it comes to uses and implementations of barcodes. As some of you know, you can add contacts and scan compatible barcodes with the latest BlackBerry Messenger. Research In Motion appears to be putting that offering to work for them by means of promotions and advertising. Free BlackBerry smartphones, free VIP sections at concerts and more. This could turn out to be quite the marketing effort, if it shows up on a larger scale. A interesting read from the CrackBerry forums tells the full details.

So yesterday I took the family to a Teeny bopper concert (Wham Bam) in Toronto. I wasn't really looking forward to it, as most of the acts I didn't like very much. I do listen to current music, but this wasn't my thing.

Now, anyone that knows me, knows that I'm a HUGE BlackBerry fan-boy. I have converted many people from dumb-phones to BB's, and enjoy the phones tremendously. I beta test for BB (beta zone) and always buy the newest entire family has a BB, and many of my friends do as well.

So anyway, as we entered the amphitheater I noticed a BBM chat bubble about 20"x20' that said "add me for better seats" and had a barcode to scan. I stopped, and scanned the barcode. My family turned back and asked me WTF I was doing We found our seats, and I had to run to the bathroom. On my way, I noticed another sign. Different message, different PIN and barcode. I scanned that one too. I was then on a mission to find any and all of these signs throughout the entire place. I found a total of 5 different PIN/barcodes (there were more signs, but only 5 PIN in total) and I added em all. I get back to the family, and tell my oldest son to add em all too.

About an hour later, these contacts add me and send me a message. Each message described a different "perk". The idea was to add all the contacts, get them to add you to BBM, then track them down to win the prize.
The 5 stations I identified were:
  1. Sunblock (show up, they give you a small bottle of sunblock. The venue was outside)
  2. Battery swap (you give them your battery, they give you a fully charged one)
  3. VIP pass (free food, free booze, swag bag)
  4. Front row seats
  5. Turns out to be VIP passes to a bar/after party
So, now I'm on a mission (Uber geek I know). I find the sunblock and battery girl, we chat, but they are VERY secretive. I manage to find the ticket girl. She hands me 2 tickets for the front row! SWEET! My son and wife find the VIP chick. They get 2 VIP passes and hit the food/bar. While in the VIP lounge, my son sees another poster. He scans that one. A few minutes later he gets a message from this PIN. He won a BlackBerry 9700! awesome!

So we put the kids in the front row seats (wife and I had no interest in them )
The wife and I went to the VIP and had some food and drink. All in all we had a great day. Got a ton of free stuff, and met some really cool BB people. I found this kind of thing very interesting. It was marketing, but only for BB people, as the average person doesn't even know about barcode scanning etc. It was more of a rewards based system, for BB users. Never seen anything like it, but too cool!
And that is that folks. So, the next time if you are out. If you happen to see a BlackBerry barcode anywhere especially at events, you may wish to scan it. You could end up with some VIP stuff. Just, don't blame me if it turns out to be nothing. Thanks to Mark_PPG for sending this stuff into us and posting in the forums.

Reader comments

Seen any BlackBerry barcodes lately while out and about? You may want to scan them


Saw one on a wine bottle but was unable to scan it. Maybe because the bottle is curved? I tried several times, no luck.

There are many MANY different types of barcodes all being utilized by different companies for different reasons.

Blackberry uses a certain type of 2 dimensional barcode but other companies do as well. They're printed all over all of the newer drug bottles in my pharmacy.

Unless you see a barcode with an explanation to how it will affect you and your blackberry, you probably can't/shouldn't scan it.

Ever think that it just might not be the app causing the problem, and that it's the FB servers? If you've used the FB app before, you no doubt would have noticed that this has happened before, and it's of no fault of the BB servers, or the app itself.

It's consistently a piece of garbage- it can't be compared to the one for iphone at all. It's not always the server's fault (although they're quite slow as well)

This is awesome.. I hope theyre doing it in the U.S. too. Thanks for the heads up , I'll be keeping an eye out.

pepsi use the barcodes in the UK, they are on the bottle and you scan them to go to their promo site.

also i use the barcodes as download links on my site :)

anyobody that want the program to amke barcodes its called q-air from adobe marketplace (is free)

I was on the El yesterday in Chicago and one of the trains I was in was COVERED in BBM ads. I didn't notice if there were any barcodes to scan but I'll be back on the El tomorrow looking for some. Maybe I'll win a million bucks.

I saw that to the whole train was covered in bbm ads it was nice to see it and way better than the visit Montana ads I am used to now lol.

The barcodes in this story are being used from BBM. But for other 2D barcodes, I just downloaded a barcode app last night but have't tested it out much. Got it from Microsoft (any feedback on this app?)...will let you know how it works.

App is called Microsoft Tag (

It's not like it only my FB for BB app that isn't working. I promise if someone posts a WORTHY thread here about FB 4 BB not working , you will get a LOT of ppl with the same problem. So RIM/Blackberry , FIX THE SHIT cuz as days go by , you guys are giving me more and more reason to jump on the EVO

Only thing hold me to BB is the 8 more months left on my T-Mo contract. Lol. Giving the chance , I will dump this crap

But hopefully the Facebook app gets fixed but knowing RIM , they won't since they are busying remaking phones and releasing em. Smh

why are you discussing facebook on a post about barcode marketing!?!?! That's what the forums are for... just saying

Have you set up your Facebook notifications on the web site??? Maybe that's why it's not working. I love the BB FB app. Instant notifications is why I think the BB FB app is better than other devices.

Anyhow, BBM ads are great. It's good to see BlackBerry advertising the hell out of BBM. BBM is one of the main reasons I will never leave BB. I'm not sure if it was on here but MTV Canada recently had a BBM code you could scan to add one of the hosts to your contact list for live chat during the MTV video awards...

I read this concert barcode story yesterday...I was walking through a wal mart and I saw a barcode on a sprite display...I couldn't help but try to scan it but a piece was torn off...maybe next time

Was in Amsterdam at the weekend, they are all over the canal walls, saw at least 20. The guy doing the cruise commentary said they were part of a an art project. Told him they weren't but he did not believe me.

It'd be so cool if it was !!
& say if this promotion was availiable in the UK , where would you find these barcodes ?
Are they in random places ... ?

This is what it says when people try to update their status : Facebook was unable to fulfil request do to an unknown error

First off thats a great story and I'd hope things like this happen on a more mainstream level.

As for FB, yeah it's acting up. The world wont stop spinning either....I'll check it on my lunch break and keep it moving.

I'd hope anyone that upset over FB being down for a bit is under the age of 21 and/or unemployed.

I see a ton of these in the city now- I've never scanned one since I assumed something from the Freelancers Union would just be bbm spam. Next time I come across one I'll scan it and post about it.

I have seen those also and actually tried scanning them with no luck. The Droid has a similar bar code system and looks almost exactly the same. I am thinking it may be for the Droid but it pisses me off that they would look so similar.

I personally really enjoy creating my own barcodes with URLs and scanning 'em off of my computer screen to go to the sites instead of having to e-mail myself the URLs and what-not.

These contests seem out of this world though, can't wait to spot one.

Wait, so this guy leaves his kids unattended at a concert while he and his wife go eat and drink? Kind irresponsible, no?

Anyway, the barcode concept sounds cool...

First off how many parents actually even go to the concerts their children attend? Second everyone in his family has BB.

So you equip people with the tools to be confident and secure especially kids so they don't grow up in a bubble, notice i didn't use the word mature.

Thirdly, A+ daddy award I'm sure for scooping front row tickets for you seeds.

Great story

i saw one a few weeks ago on a huge billboard advert on the 33rd street side of Madison Square Garden. I tried to scan it but was too far away, deciding I'd scan it next time i was past that way.
I was there this morning, it's now been replaced by some BS MyTouch T-Mob advert. bah humbug, wish i'd taken the time to get closer and scan it now!!

I just read through the whole people talking about FB and i still have no idea how to do this barcode scan
* Read the actual forum post. you need an app for the 2d bar codes that are in news papers and such found at otherwise it's just the regular 'add a contact' scan...

having to load BBM just to scan a barcode that opens a webpage is just retarded. RIM is so backwards some times. barcode scanning should be apart of the default camera or separate app. ehh i don't care anymore i'm getting the iphone4 and unlocking it... dont care if i only get 2g anything is better than what rim is doing right now.

The problem with these barcodes is that you don't know if they are for the Android system, iPhone, or the BBM since they all use the QR barcode system. It sounds like from the article, that these codes were actually on advertisement with the BlackBerry name or RIM logo on them, so that is why he knew to scan them with BBM.

Also, just randomly scanning barcodes poses a serious security risk in the fact that you don't know what the code actually contains. And since I highly doubt that RIM but any validation code into the scanning system, they might have permanent consequences for your phone or your Personal information security.

how everything happened, you got all of that AND a free 9700? unlikely, I live in Miami and haven't seen any such barcodes anywhere and we're supposed to be a famous city and you found like 7 of them AND won everything? hmm, idk, you should have taken a pic of at least 1 of them as proof

Miami is supposed to be a famous city? LOL

I work in Miami and must say that aside from the "in" places like South Beach, Miami is the last place things happen - when has anything important happened in Miami first? If I was RIM, I wouldn't waste any money on Miami, except for SoBe. That said, you will notice that the OP is in Toronto, so maybe they are just starting the campaign on a trial basis near their home.

Last weekend was huge in Toronto - with tons of festivals (ie. NXNE, Luminato, Taste of Italy), the Much Music Video Awards, and many, many big concerts. BlackBerry ads were *everywhere* - I don't think you could look anywhere in the major areas without seeing some sort of BlackBerry ad.

I thought this was either trial marketing as I haven't seen BB ads like this before (extremely well done, targeted to younger people) or the beginning of the build-up to OS6.

I did see one ad with a barcode but I didn't bother to scan it.

Yeah, I made it all up (rolleyes!)

It was extremely cool. The VIP area was sponsored by Rogers. The folks working the BBM were RIM employees. I spoke to them throughout the day, including the Boss/manager and expressed my gratitude and enthusiasm for the whole idea.

And NO I did not leave my kids unattended (WoW!)

Sharpie, I drove past Yonge Dundas square and saw some BB banners. I wanted to stop and see, but I couldn't.

I am mad I didn't take any pics of the Bubble/posters or the staff actually...

hey I am not accusing you of anything I'm just telling it how it looks. I don't think anyone would kill you for exaggerating a bit,everything sounds like it could happen up until the 9700 that your kid won. If you are a blackberry addict I would have expected to see pics of the barcodes or the events. But hey that's just my opinion so let the bashing begin.

I would have been running all over that venue too. I hope I run into something like that. Did you get any pictures of the signs?

Kevin has updated the post with a photo of one of the signs. This isn't the one from my event, but from a similar event.

I will be receiving an email with a list of the events shortly. I will post up what I get in the forums

I tried to scan the barcode from the picture. Sent a request to the PIN as well. No luck with the barcode haha.