In the latest issue of Islands magazine, Norwegian Cruise Line uses two Microsoft Tags to promote a 7-Day Caribbean cruise vacation contest. One Tag is featured on the “From the Editor” page (see below, top) and the other Tag can be found in NCL’s advertisement (see below, bottom). Both Tags direct readers to a website that launches a quiz and, based on how well a reader answers some questions, they will be entered into the cruise contest.
While NCL does a fine job explaining the Tags on the “From the Editor” page (i.e., how to scan, where to download a reader app, how to enter the contest, etc.), the execution is not as strong in the ad itself. If a reader of the magazine missed the “From the Editor” page, which is located on page 6, I do not believe they would know what to make of the Tag found on the ad page, which is placed well inside the magazine. That is, unless the reader takes out a magnifying glass and reads the “mouse-sized” type located at the very bottom of the ad and set in gray lettering. Why NCL designed the ad in this manner is hard to tell. With 2D barcodes being so new, it is in a company’s best interest to be open and upfront about the use of 2D barcodes. From a pure marketing perspective, if the Tag is meant to be the ad’s call-to-action, why hide this or make it difficult for a reader to figure out. I am also curious to know why NCL chose this dotted version of a Microsoft Tag, as opposed to the more commonly seen version, which features colored or black and white triangle shapes.
It would be interesting to know the success/scan rates for these placements and if NCL’s objectives were achieved.