Pepsi is becoming the first major manufacturer to use quick response (QR) codes on its products –allowing people get access to special offers online by 'reading' the tag with a mobile phone.

The QR tags – hugely popular in Japan – have been used in Britain before, but Pepsi's decision to print the black and white images on their Pepsi Max cans apparently represents the first British consumer brand to make widespread use of the technology.

People take a photo of the image and if their handset is QR enabled it can decode the symbol and give access to special mobile websites.

N96 and iPhone

Nokia's N96 already has a QR reader built in and iPhone users can download a reader from the App store.

"Our core group of consumers of Pepsi Max is about 25 years old and they very much live in the digital world and the way we communicate with them is evolving rapidly," Pepsi UK Marketing Director Bruno Gruwez told The Guardian.

"It is not so much about the 30 second TV advert any more. We want to use the can as a gateway and that is what QR codes can provide for us.

"Not everyone in the UK is going to be able to use them... but early adopters are really our target audience and using QR codes also shows we are an innovative brand."