How Not to Define Exclusive Content

Every so often, an advertiser using 2D barcodes will use the word “exclusive” to describe the scan resolve content. The question I have for these advertisers is, how do you define exclusive?

Recently, Mobil, the oil company, ran this print advertisement in a national sports magazine and the company used the word exclusive (“Snap a pic, or scan with a QR code app for exclusive Mobil 1 content.”) in the caption near the QR Code.

When the code is scanned, guess what the reader of the advertisement is linked to? Go ahead, guess what the “exclusive” content is. Want to try again? How about a 15-second video of the two drivers shown in the ad talking between themselves about the type of car racing they do. That’s it. Sound “exclusive” to you? It certainly doesn’t to me.

From a 2D/mobile experience perspective, the scan resolve in this ad is virtually worthless and offers nothing of use, value or benefit for the reader. Looking beyond the actual content itself, how “exclusive” is the scan resolve when the circulation of the magazine is over two million people? Granted, not all readers will find the code and want to scan it, but just let’s say they did. All exclusivity then goes out the window.

Advertisers, 2D or not, need to pay attention to the copy they are using and realize the sophistication of their audience. Not only is this ad’s scan resolve worthless, so too is the entire experience, because even after watching the video there are no links or messages to keep the reader of the ad engaged. No product information is provided. No incentive to purchase is offered. The entire experience simply amounts to a waste of time.

If this were to be exclusive content then, why not offer it to the first 50 or 100 readers of the ad that scan the code? At a minimum, provide content that is truly meaningful, relevant and beneficial to the consumer, which does not have to take the form of a video. All it takes is a little bit of thought. 

2D Barcode Litmus Test: FAIL

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