Here’s a new one…a 2D barcode from AT&T.
Cable station, Starz, is running a campaign to promote a new series called “Spartacus-Gods of the Arena.” In the billboard advertisements that I have seen on New York City telephone booths there is a 2D barcode featured, which has been generated through AT&T. When the code is scanned, the reader is brought to a mobile website that offers the ability to view a short trailer, share on Facebook, follow on Twitter, or view more on You Tube. For those who may be interested in watching the series, I hope the series is not as boring as the mobile experience.
Other than showing a 1:30 minute trailer, what else could Starz have done to get people interested in the series? How about behind the scenes interviews or footage, or a sweepstakes to win a trip to Rome and see the Coliseum, or a link to information about how the gladiators fought and lived? Almost anything would be better and more meaningful than just a trailer. Yes, people may share and pass the trailer video on within their social network, but does Starz believe that alone will be enough to build excitement and buzz around the series? It’s not as if Spartacus and the gladiator thing hasn’t been done before.
Now, in regard to the 2D barcode itself. I will give Starz credit for making the call to action (“View Trailer”) so clear, but I wonder why the company decided to use an AT&T generated code. Not knowing that this was, in fact, a proprietary code from AT&T, I first tried to use other reader apps and the scans failed. Once the AT&T reader was installed the scan resolved just fine.
Last year, AT&T came out with a new mobile code platform, called Mobile Barcode Services, which offers businesses and individuals a code generator, reader app, code management system and metrics reporting. While the offer and platform are very complete, what I don’t fully understand is how the platform and, more specifically, how the codes are branded. Obviously this is a proprietary code, but unlike Microsoft, JAGTAG, SnapTag, etc., AT&T has chosen not to name the code and just refer to it as a mobile barcode. Does this make sense? Does this cause further confusion in the marketplace? Interesting questions, yes, but I digress, as the focus was meant to be on the Starz advertisement. (Stay tuned for a post about AT&T.)
Let me finish by saying that entertainment companies need to push the creative envelope when it comes to marketing via 2D. A trailer is a trailer is a trailer. Think overall experience, value and what the consumer can take away.
2D Barcode Litmus Test: FAIL