Who says QR Codes are for product or service brands only? The United States Marine Corps is currently running this print campaign, which features a QR Code. Should we be surprised? Not really. The demographic that the USMC targets is, without a doubt, made up of individuals who are mobile phone users and early adopters of most anything that has to do with technology, mobile or otherwise.
There are several things that I like about this campaign. First, the description and instructions that accompany the QR Code are extremely succinct, and speaks to both smartphone and non-smartphone user alike. Additionally, the copy provides a call to action which reads, “Get a limited edition wallpaper and watch a video.”
Second, when the code is scanned, the reader of the ad is brought to a mobile website, which offers the reader a limited edition wallpaper to download, a 30-second video to watch or a form to fill out to request more information.
While I have a great affinity and deep appreciation for the men and women who serve in the USMC, and military in general, I believe this campaign could have gone further to try and impress upon the youth of America what it means to become and serve as a U.S. Marine. The wallpaper is an almost meaningless offer, and the video, while touching and heart felt, would not, in my opinion, get someone to really consider joining up. Not that the USMC is about to offer a shortened tour of duty for all that join as a result of interacting with this campaign, but I believe other tactics could have been used to “sell” the Corps.
One last comment, while military recruitment is not like product or service sales in the traditional sense, the advertising objective between the two is much the same (i.e., to move the potential recruit/consumer one step further down the recruitment/purchase path). With this 2D advertisement, I do not get a sense that it has the ability to move individuals much further along the path.
2D Barcode Litmus Test: FAIL