File This QR Code Campaign Under "What Were You Thinking?"

This Verizon out-of-home billboard, which features a QR Code (see lower left-hand corner), was spotted at a near-by shopping mall. In viewing the placement of the billboard and the way the code was generated, my question to the company’s marketing/creative brain trust is, what were you guys thinking?

For starters, the billboard is located on the third floor of the shopping mall facing outward into an open-air space (unfortunately, we have seen placements like this before). So, unless a shopper is able to levitate in mid-air, or decides to inconvenience themselves by having to stand next to the left-hand side of the billboard and reach over the railing with their phone, hoping they can position their phone correctly and not drop their phone, can the code be scanned. Not a very practical way of thinking about, planning for or initiating the user/brand experience.  

Of course, one could ask, can’t the code be scanned from where I took the picture? No it can’t, and for one simple reason, the code is way too dense (see image above) and cannot be scanned from such a distance and/or angle. Instead of using a URL shortener, Verizon decided to use the long URL for the scan resolve landing page, which consists of over 200, yes 200, characters. Why the company chose to do this without realizing the outcome (i.e., a code that is too dense and difficult to scan at distance/angle) is anyone’s guess. Granted, this particular billboard is probably one of many that may have been placed into the market but, why choose this media location knowing that an objective of the campaign is to have consumers scan the QR Code. Or, am I presuming too much and code scans were not an objective? Couldn’t the company have created two different billboards, one with and one without a code? Or better yet, create one billboard, but make sure the code is large enough and simple enough (i.e., not overly dense) to be scanned at a distance and at an angle. It’s not rocket science.

Enough about this campaign, we need not get into the scan resolve content.    
2D Barcode Litmus Test: FAIL


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