Over the past several weeks, I have noticed television commercials by Lowe’s and Home Depot, both of which feature a 2D barcode. In the Lowe’s commercial, you see a Microsoft Tag placed on garden plant care stakes, and in the Home Depot commercial you see QR Codes placed on garden plant care stakes too. The only real difference between the two commercials is that in the Home Depot spot you actually see a customer scanning the QR Code with a smartphone.
While it is great to see two major retail brands making use of the technology, the average consumer (i.e., a consumer with no previous knowledge of 2D technology) probably would not realize what they are being shown during the commercials and, even if they did, they stand a good chance of missing the visual, because in both spots the codes are shown for only a few seconds. So, in my mind, why bother placing the codes in the commercials at all?
Yes, I realize these two companies are in the experimentation phase with 2D, as many others are, but how much of an experiment is it when codes are not presented as the focal point in an advertisement, or are figured into an advertisement as an afterthought? Why not create a 30-second commercial that really features the technology and puts it out there front and center for all to see and experience? How else does a company believe that consumers are going to 1) learn about the technology in general, and 2) know that the company itself makes use of the technology and provides it to their target audience?
Another question to ask is, why can’t information about the use of 2D be found on either company’s website? I searched both the Lowe’s main website and the Home Depot main website and nothing…no press release, no general information page, no additional information on the garden center product pages…nothing. If a customer wanted to learn more about the technology and how they can make use of and/or experience it, the opportunity does not present itself. Once again, this points to an advertiser not fully thinking through their use of the technology and the role they need to play as 2D barcode educator/ambassador/evangelist.
It will be interesting to see for how long, and in what context, Lowe’s and Home Depot stick with 2D.
(Note: I have not scanned the codes in store, but I assume they both link to plant care information.)