Capital One uses QR Code

Capital One has launched a new print campaign which features a QR code and, as much as I would like to comment on the 2D experience, I would also like to comment on the advertisement as a whole.

First, the 2D experience. When the QR Code is scanned, the reader of the advertisement is linked to a mobile website that displays the bank’s current yield/offer (a whopping 1.01%) and beneath the rate copy there are three touch tabs titled: The perks, Compare our rates and Call Us. Beneath the three touch tabs is a paragraph of disclaimer copy. Touch the “The perks” tab and a consumer can read more about the features of the offer being made. Touch the “Compare our rates” tab and a consumer can read a chart that compares rates with other well-known banks. Touch the “Call us now” tab and the bank’s 1-800 phone number is preloaded into the mobile phone, waiting for the call to be activated. 

One of the issues I have with the content of the scan resolve is the 1-800 number. When dialed, the 1-800 number connects to a general customer service menu prompt, there is absolutely no mention or direct connection with the 5X offer made in the print advertisement. Why? Why not treat the phone call as though it were a web landing page, where the phone message is directly tied into the print advertisement? Or, shun the thought, why not have a live customer service rep answer the 1-800 number and speak directly to the 5X offer? More meaningful, personal, relevant, is it not? In so far as the rate comparison page and the perks page, no real value being offered here. Yes, the rate comparison is somewhat helpful, but not truly valuable, and the perk information is the same information that’s found in the ad’s disclaimer copy so, why just repeat it?

Second, the ad as a whole. There used to be a time when “high yield” meant 5%, 10%, 15% so, how does 1.01% equate with “high yield?” Coming from the financial services world I realize that rates and performance are all relative and dependent on many macro and micro factors, but seriously, is this the best a bank can do with respect to “high yield?” While the use of 5X in the ad’s headline may pique a consumer’s curiosity to learn more, how interested will the consumer be once they take the time to scan the QR Code and learn that the yield is only 1.01%? Clever use of copy on the company’s part but, from the consumer’s perspective, where does this leave them post-scan?  

Read the other perk’s being offered and I wonder, are they really perks? Perk 1 – Lock in the promotional yield for one year. Why not offer the promotional yield until rates go above 1.01%? Perk 2 – Free ATMs. Most, if not all, banks offer free use of their ATMs so, how is this a perk? Yes, Capital One will reimburse up to $15 of other bank ATM usage fees per month, but this does not sound like free to me past $15. Perk 3 – Free checking. Many banks offer this service, so how original and/or unique is this perk? Perk 4 – Great for combined balances. When the bank is telling consumers that in order to reap the benefits of this account a minimum of $5,000 needs to be kept on balance across all deposit accounts, how does stipulating a minimum constitute a perk?  

What irks me the most about this advertisement is that the bank is offering nothing of real substance and forces consumers to either scan a code, text a short code, call a phone number or visit a website to find this out. Why not be creative, innovative when it comes to personal checking accounts? Surely there must be a way, but then, we are talking about a company that uses Viking-like personalities to promote part of its business. Lastly, at what point does the 2D provider step in and say something regarding scan resolve content and the interactive experience as a whole, because there is a well-known company behind this ad?

Would love to hear from the bank post-campaign and learn how many checking accounts were opened as a result. Surely that must be an objective above and beyond just scans.

2D Barcode Litmus Test: FAIL


One thought on “Capital One uses QR Code

  1. Hey Roger,
    Just wanted to drop you a line to let you know that I appreciate this content. I've come across this blog researching QR codes in the financial services sector for a major banking client of mine. So I am really digging the info / commentary here.
    Thanks very much!

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