How Not to Describe Your Mobile Barcode

These two advertisements were spotted in the latest issue of Architectural Digest; one has a Microsoft Tag and the other a QR Code.

Although I am usually interested in analyzing and commenting on an entire advertisement, what I want to focus on with these two particular ads is the copy that’s associated with each code. For the top ad, the copy reads, “Modern History by Wood-Mode. Download at the App Store or” For the bottom ad, the copy reads, “The custom furniture finish that is as individual as a fingerprint. Each piece is signed by and dated by designer Sally Sirkin Lewis. Get the free mobile app at Watch the Ombre Video.”

In regard to the top ad, what is the consumer suppose to download at the app store? What is the consumer suppose to download at What type of website is Nothing is defined or explained, whether it’s the QR Code itself or what is to be downloaded.

In regard to the bottom ad, the consumer is told to get the free mobile app, but why? What does the app have to do with the Tag? Also, the consumer is instructed to watch the video, but how are they supposed to do that? Here too, nothing is fully explained or described.

Both of these companies may wish to believe that the vast majority of consumers are on board with and understand how to use mobile barcodes, but they aren’t. Not yet. So, from a best practice perspective, it makes sense for advertisers to describe, explain and instruct consumers on what a code is, why they should scan it, where they will go upon scanning and how to locate and download a code reader app. All it takes are a couple of short sentences to detail the above information, which not only serves to inform the consumer, but it also works to motivate the consumer to engage and interact with the ad (i.e., brand, product, service, etc.) via the code.

Of course, I could not help myself, I went ahead and scanned the codes anyway. The top code resolves to the desktop version of the company’s website, and the bottom code resolves to a 1:44 minute You Tube video. Not optimized for mobile on the first. Too self promotional and not optimized for mobile on the second. In relation to both ads, what’s in it for the consumer? Answer, not much, and that’s a shame.

2D Barcode Litmus Test: FAIL and FAIL


One thought on “How Not to Describe Your Mobile Barcode

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