Garnier uses Microsoft Tag

Garnier, the haircare products company, has launched a new print campaign, which features a Microsoft Tag. When scanned, the Tag resolves to a video which demonstrates how women can use the company’s new Blow Dry Perfector product.

The Tag and its instructions are placed prominently in the ad and hard to miss, and Garnier does the right thing by offering a URL for readers who don’t have a smart phone, but who may still wish to view the video. Garnier also makes an attempt to blend the Tag code and copy section with the main artwork of the ad by using a common color in the Tag section headline copy. One negative about the Tag instructions, however, is that the company tells readers to get the “free mobile app at” but they never mention what the app is by name or that it is a code reader app. Nor does Garnier inform readers that they are being directed to a Microsoft site to access the app, which may lead people to wonder what the connection is to Microsoft. (And, for some, this raises the issue about proprietary 2D codes like Tag, and if this is the direction the 2D industry should take.)

Garnier Microsoft Tag
Garnier Microsoft Tag 2
While a product demonstration video helps consumers learn about and see the new product in action, a discount coupon helps to seal the deal, and Garnier does not misstep here. They offer consumers a $2 coupon for their Blow Dry Perfector product, whether they come through via mobile or the web.

10 thoughts on “Garnier uses Microsoft Tag

  1. Hey Roger,

    In your post, why don't you add links to Garnier or the Microsoft Tag site or

    After 60 seconds of looking on, I can't find the Blow Dry Perfector how-to video. Exactly, where is it?

    Regarding your “One negative”, I disagree. The intent of the 2d code in the ad is not to educate, but to get consumers to act now. If readers go to “” on their smartphone, won't the app will load automatically? In this case, less is more.

    What is the name of the “free mobile app at”?

    What is a “code reader app”? I'm confused?

  2. For all the “misses,” it is nice to see a “hit.”

    What I'm sure many of us are wondering at this point is: How many Microsoft Tag Readers have been downloaded over past 30-days during MS Tag's saturation bombing of summer magazines (plus, this weeks' Entertainment Weekly)? Total install base?

    Basically, have MS Tag successfully begun to integrate themselves into the marketplace, or are these ads not resulting in more Reader installs?

    I've got to think they've been somewhat successful – plus word of mouth will increase the install base (targeting women was brilliant). But, it would be nice to have some numbers.

    The thing about MS Tags is that they resolve first time out of the box, even when printed very small. It's a technology that works. It's still a surprise when I get a QR to resolve on the first Reader attempt; I'm even pleased if I hit it on a 2nd try with an alternate Reader (how many of us have more than 4 QR Readers on our phones? But, only 1 MS Tag Reader).

  3. Anonymous: To your point about Microsoft Tag targeting women…I have spoken with people at Microsoft and I don't believe it was as much as they were trying to target women, as it was that they were trying to target publishers, as a vertical market segment. By default, it so happens that of the publishers they have contracted with, the majority of their titles are targeted to women.

  4. Jack: Here is the link to the video on the new product:

    Going forward I will try to include links to such pages, thank you for the suggestion.

    To your comment about educating the consumer…yes, I realize the ad itself is not there to educate, but if through the ad/code a video can be shown which does educate, to me that's what 2D is about. It's a faster process than someone having to write down, keep the ad handy, or remember the web address for the video when they are ready to view it.

  5. @roger — It would be great if you can find out how effective these campaigns have been for MS Tag? Clearly, they are looking for new Users, which means more downloads of their Reader.

    Whether by design or default, they have hit the 20-39/Female demographic heavily during the summer months (i.e. “beach reading” mags) and have offered many incentives for Users. Have they gotten some volume of new Installs?

  6. Hey there,

    I work with the Microsoft Tag team. Thanks for all the feedback in these comments. It's always interesting to see how people take in these campaigns.

    As for not have more instructions than go to '' – this is an interesting point of view. How many times do you see instructions with QR codes? Just curious. I think if a consumer has a smartphone – that is one step closer to them understanding the point of applications for their phone.

    Not to say it may not be confusing – but at least if they do take this action they will be pointed to the appropriate download page/instructions.

    As for Microsoft Tag targeting women- I guess it may seem that way. But we are definitely concentrating on saturating different markets. There are a lot of magazines that target women who have picked it up – allure, seventeen magazine,etc..

    It's always fun to see people implement Microsoft Tag on their own. I can definitely see it being picked up. At least once a week I will catch a new group/publisher using Tag.

    Microsoft Tag

  7. Nadia: Thank you for the comments. To answer your question, QR codes often come with an explanation and instructions, and it surprises me to read that you have not seen this. From your comment, it seems like the MS Tag team does not actively research the market or competition to know what they are doing or how their codes are being displayed.

    Yes, if a person has a smart phone they would be inclined to understand the idea behind apps that much more but, smart phone or not, no one is going to wake up one morning and all of a sudden realize what a Tag or QR code is and know what to do with it and how to make use of it. This is where brands and agencies must work to educate and instruct through the campaigns that display a 2D code, and the faster we get past this hurdle the faster consumer adoption will be.

  8. Anonymous: With respect to finding out numbers, I have aksed people in the past and nothing specific can be reported. The code providers (ScanLife, JAGTAG, Microsoft, etc.) all state that the data is owned by the client and that it is up to them to release it. When I try to speak with clients, no one wants to talk about their campaign, whether it's from a strategic, tactical, creative or metric point of view, which is a shame, but I will keep trying.

  9. Some great insight and thank you for providing it.

    I disagree with the notion that Microsoft can not provide data as it belongs to the users. I would suggest that they should provide “macro” analyitcs based on volume. What is wrong with providing the number of Reader downloads to date, scans per month by industry, etc.? This would be instrumental in selling this technology to our business partners as it currently remains the “Great Unknown.” Furthermore, broad analytics would benefit MS Tag technology further by promoting it's use. There obviously is a race to standardization going on. Microsoft has an opportunity to take the lead but not providing key information to users/marketers is actually somewhat of a detriment.

  10. I can understand not sharing the # of scans that a Client pays for (unless they promote it).

    But, to get a sense of the # of Readers, that is data owned by these companies. Microsoft have aggressively been out in the market the past 1-2 months, and “how many Readers have been downloaded?” is a natural question. And, without that Data, it's difficult for anyone to pitch the use of MS Tags. The same for QR Readers? Of the top 6 Readers in the market, what is their cumulative penetration?

    Those are numbers that Ad Agencies are now looking for. Some of us are helping them to get as much info as possible. But, if the companies aren't willing to share their Reader install base, then, it will slow down adoption.

    Plus, the only reason, for example, Microsoft might not want to share Reader install data is if their campaigns failed? And, their install base has not grown, despite their efforts.

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