Atlantis, the Caribbean resort, has been running a series of full-page advertisements in The New York Times to promote their winter vacation specials and, in these ads, QR Codes are featured.
When I scanned the code in this particular advertisement (lower left hand corner), it took three different code reader apps to finally get the scan resolve to work. The difficulty in reading the code might have been due to the fact that there is no, or not enough, white space around the code. Best practice says that white space, or quiet space, should surround the code and, it is my understanding, that the white space should be no less than three modules (i.e., the black and white squares that make up the code) in width.
Once the scan finally resolved, I landed on a You Tube page but, here too, the process broke down. Because I could not get the video to play on my smartphone, I resorted to a desktop PC to view it. The video was 34 seconds in length and promoted CRUSH, the resort’s new all teen club. Great to see what CRUSH is like in case I or another reader of the advertisement had teens and wanted to vacation at the resort, but what does Atlantis really believe a 34 second video like this is really going to achieve, especially after it took me, and perhaps others, about two to three minutes just to get the scan to work. The ad itself has already made the best or most alluring offer (i.e., kids stay and eat for free and a free companion airfare). In my mind, a video like this, which happens to be the very same one used on their website, is essentially a reused commercial with no offer, no call to action, or nothing of true value and importance attached.
Yes, without doubt, the QR Code makes the advertisement that much more interactive and potentially fun to share with and show a child (I doubt that a teen would be reading the NY Times and see this ad all on their own), but why not make it worth the reader’s time and effort to actually scan the code.
Yes, the company uses a decent call to action next to the code but, when I finish viewing the video, I am left with a “yeah, so” feeling. Shouldn’t I, and other readers of the advertisement, be excited and enthused by the scan experience? Ready to move further down the purchase decision path?
I don’t mean to sound so dismissive of this advertisement and others like it, because one more 2D based ad helps to raise overall awareness in the marketplace, etc., but it just seems as though the 2D experience, or the lack thereof, negates the power of the technology itself. Consumers know what to expect from a traditional advertisement, but they are probably less knowing of a 2D ad, so why not take the opportunity to knock their socks off?
Companies and their agencies need to spend more time thinking how to create a great mobile experience and less time thinking how to reuse existing content.
2D Barcode Litmus Test: FAIL