BMO Financial Group uses QR Code

BMO Financial Group recently launched this print advertisement in The New York Times, and featured in the ad is a QR Code. We don’t often see a financial services company make use of 2D, so this one could be interesting. Then again, maybe not.

When I first saw the code, I thought it would not scan, because the quiet space surrounding the code was not as wide as it should be but, after a few tries, it brought me to the “About Us” page on the desktop version of the bank’s website. For an organization that is keen on informing the public about how much it has grown by way of a recent merger and how it plans to be better all around and deliver excellence (the message of the print ad), it seems as though someone in marketing dropped the ball, because to direct the reader of the ad to a non-mobile website via a 2D code is hardly better or excellent.

Once on the “About Us” page, the reader of the ad can view a letter from the bank’s executive management, which discusses the recent merger and how things will change and get better for customers going forward. To read how much this merger means to the bank, it seems as though there could have been a more creative and/or graphical way to present the news and information to potential and/or existing clients, especially if the platform for delivery is a mobile device. Yes, it’s one thing for a nearly 200 year-old bank to leap into the present and make use of 2D technology in an advertisement, but it is another to really have thought out an integrated and comprehensive strategy behind it. Once again, a mere afterthought.

On another note, non 2D related, something strikes me about the company’s website. When you click on the elements under the “About Us” tab, the site shifts from http://www.bmo.com to www2.bmo.com and I don’t know why. Some of the pages under www2.bmo.com are formatted differently and it just seems odd that the bank would do this. Also, the navigation on some of the www2 pages works strangely, because you can’t easily get back to the home page. While I realize financial institutions often have a number of divisions, groups and separate legal entities all on the same website, someone in marketing should take a look. Same with the “Capital Markets” section of the site. From a brand standards perspective, let alone a user experience perspective, something seems off.

Barcode Litmus Test: FAIL

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