City of Santa Monica uses QR Codes

Recently, the City of Santa Monica launched a QR Code-based out-of-home campaign to promote two local summer-time events, “Cinema on the Street” and “Dating Downtown.”

As always, it’s great to see local communities making use of 2D technology but, in this particular instance, most every marketing related best practice has been simply ignored and, I believe, the scan rates will bear this out. For example, there is no call-to-action associated with either QR Code, no descriptive information about either code (i.e., what they are, how to use them and what to expect) and no instructions on where and how to download a QR Code reader app. All of these elements, and plenty of others, should be a part of this and most any other 2D-based campaign to ensure the highest degree of response and interaction.

With respect to scan resolves, the top code links to a Facebook page and the bottom code links to a WordPress page. The Facebook page offers the same information that can be found on the poster, so the question is, why have the consumer scan the code? The WordPress page provides information that is more up-to-date than the poster, but again, why is a consumer spending the time to scan the code? In both instances, what should happen is that the consumer scans a code and some sort of incentive should be delivered (i.e., a discount or offer on something related to either event). Codes should not be used to redirect consumers to the same information, or close to it, which is  provided in the advertisement itself. Where’s the excitement, let alone the value, in that? 
2D Barcode Litmus Test: FAIL


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