One of the more creative ones I've seen recently is creating a really long-term data storage (Giga-Year) based on QR-Codes - http://vimeo.com/77028789
I was able to scan at least two that the author said weren't scannable.
Don't let the last one get you down.
"These are not the pixels you are looking for." Choice.
Are you by any chance a Kiwi?
and this one has the benefit of allowing you to make a qr code with your face on it :)
So error correction gets worse (less effective), but maybe not as bad as you might believe.
That being said, if you are putting QR codes on anything aesthetics are probably not something that even registers with you.
Without that, you have to awkwardly scan from exactly the correct direction.
The thing is, you surely could correct for that(?)
I would imagine this might be a tad optimistic, mainly due to their use being limited to only a few forms of advertisement (print being the main one). The only time I can remember using a QR code was when I watched a stream of the Google I/O 2010 conference and they showed one to get a CR-48 chromebook. Needless to say, that QR code will forever be my favorite one.
I was tasked with creating QR codes for certificates (every certificate leads to a unique page for the certificate number on the website, for security and more information since the certificates were small and made to be pretty instead of useful).
We ended up with Level M golden (more like dark yellow) colored QR codes in the corner - using higher error correction is actually detrimental the smaller you go, and backgrounds, embossing or any kind of advanced design would lead to it being very hard to read - it's better to have a plain ugly QR code that is immediately scannable with any device than a pretty one that is unreadable (just imagine your buyers trying to scan the damn thing five times in a row then give up in frustration).
But the client really liked the idea (and the results), and I am still surprised that so many people don't even consider this nowadays...
1. Spray painted code. Does it scan? (author says NO)