Last month, FOX Broadcasting Company announced that they will be using QR codes, known as FOX Codes, to deliver promotional and added show content for FOX fall programming. The FOX codes will appear in outdoor signage, print, on-air and online and, when scanned, they will resolve to mobile websites, which provide insider content, videos, first-look photos, show secrets, cast interviews and more. The FOX Codes will be focused on three shows, Lone Star, Fringe and Glee.
During the past several nights, I have started to see these codes appear on-air in between programs but, for the milliseconds that the code appears, does FOX really believe viewers are going to be able to scan the code. There’s just simply not enough time or forewarning to do so. Does FOX’s marketing team just assume that everyone has a DVR, Tivo, etc., where viewers will replay the program, pause the screen and scan the code? If this assumption was not enough, it seems as though FOX also makes the assumption that viewers will instinctively know how to scan the code and where to get and download a reader app.
From an online perspective, the 2D campaign is just as bad, or worse. I visited the company’s website and there is absolutely no mention of FOX Codes on the corporate home page. I also went to each shows’ home page and only for Lone Star did I see a QR code being displayed (below the fold in the lower right corner of the page); the home pages for Glee and Fringe did not have a code anywhere in sight. So how does all of this really deliver an enhanced customer experience, if at all? In my opinion, it doesn’t.
It seems as though FOX put more effort into the corporate press release that was distributed last month announcing the QR codes, but a press release is not the way to educate and inform viewers about 2D. While it makes perfect sense for FOX to make use of cross-channel promotion to build awareness of the FOX Code campaign, it seems as though the ball has been dropped in too many places for this to be considered any kind of model for success. And that’s also without my seeing any related print ads, because who knows what those look like.
As an aside to all of this, several months ago, I saw an article talking about the CBS Early Show making use of 2D codes as well, but I have yet to see them deployed in any shape or fashion. Why? Not sure.
While there may be a place for 2D codes on television, it all boils down to execution and making certain that it is done correctly. Also, assumptions should not be made at any juncture. And, if the objective is to integrate the campaign through various channels then all of the pieces of the puzzle need to be in place within those channels. Just think best practice.