Grant Thornton uses QR Code

Grant Thornton (GT), the audit, tax and advisory company, recently ran this print advertisement in Fast Company, and featured in the advertisement is a QR Code. One more B2B campaign to add to the list, and another to add to the Litmus Test FAIL pile. Let’s take a closer look. 

First, the code itself. Why does GT’s marketing team choose use a long URL (, as opposed to a short URL? Using a long URL will often result in a QR Code that is too dense and too difficult to scan. In this case, it took me three different code reader apps, and precious seconds, until I was able to scan the code and have it resolve. If it is a matter of tracking and metrics, there is no reason why a short URL cannot provide the same level of tracking and metrics, as a long URL. Also, from a pure image perspective, which looks more appealing to scan, the QR Code in the advertisement, which almost appears as a solid block of purple color, or the one below?

Second, the call-to-action. There is none. Yes, there is copy, which reads, “See what wins at” but this has nothing to do with the QR Code. Instead of driving readers to the URL, why not drive them to scan the code and then provide the URL as a backup for those with a feature phone or who choose not to scan?

Third, the scan resolve. Once scanned, the reader of the advertisement is brought to a mobile page, but the 1:11 minute video that is on the page is not optimized for mobile, and the “click here” content links bring the reader back to the desktop version of the company’s website. So, why bother with a mobile page to begin with? It should be all or nothing, preferably all.

Fourth, the video. Time and time again, we see 2D codes which link to a self-promotional corporate video that offers little, if anything, to the consumer or prospective client, and this one is no different. What I do love about this particular video is that the company mentions that in order to win in today’s market companies need to do away with cliche thinking, yet, at the very end of the video the company uses the line “…it takes one to know one.” Sounds pretty cliche to me.

As I have asked about other B2B 2D-based campaigns, is business so great at GT that they do not need to capture prospect contact information? Do they not have to fill the pipeline and generate qualified sales leads? If no, business is not that great, then where are the mechanisms to do the above? If yes, business is that great, then why bother spending the money to advertise? And, this then leads us to question the overall objectives for this campaign. Are there any?

(Jack, any questions, please call.)
2D Barcode Litmus Test: FAIL


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