Beer, QR Codes and Mobile

Recently, Kirin, the Japanese beer company, launched a print ad with a QR Code. Based on the experience I had scanning the QR Code, it seems as though the company knows more about beer than advertising which, I suppose, makes sense up until the point the company wants consumers to learn about and actually buy their beer.

When I scanned the QR Code, I was brought to the desktop version of the company’s website, not a mobile site. Strike one. When I tried to enter my birth day, month and year, as requested, I could not use the mechanism by which the company asked for such information (i.e., the day, month, year drop down menus do not work properly on a mobile device or, at least, not mine). Strike two. Once I was able to get past the age qualifier, I viewed the company’s website and said to myself, so what? Strike three.

After spending more time than I should have trying to make sense of the company’s ad and scan resolve content, I am no closer to becoming a customer any time soon. What a shame. With all of the creative effort and money spent, I wonder just how many new customers will come as a result of this particular ad.

Instead of developing a scan/brand/product experience that is truly beneficial, relevant and of value, the company decided to do just the opposite. Kirin could have easily developed a proper mobile-based website for the QR Code to scan to. And, if that’s the case, the age qualified mechanism would have been  known to work correctly on any mobile device. Then, once on the site, the company would have offered something of value and benefit beyond just some high level bits of product information. Granted the product location finder is of use, but couldn’t there have been something else?  For example, what about food pairing information, recipes that call for beer as an ingredient, something interesting about Japanese beer history or culture, a sweepstakes to win an authentic Japanese _____ (fill in the blank), a discount coupon for a local Japanese restaurant, etc., etc.

As I have written time and again, what this example points to, beyond the items mentioned above, is the apparent lack of objectives. If the objective was to get people to interact via the scan resolve then why have a desktop landing page? If the objective is to get people past the age qualifier then why not enable them to do so with a mechanism that works on a mobile platform? If the objective is to have consumers buy beer, how does the company expect to do this based on just supplying simple product information?

With so much talk and concern about ROI, how does Kirin’s marketing team explain this one? Lastly, the user scan/brand/product experience should be a seamless one, there’s no room (or need) for hurdles in marketing, advertising or promotion.     

2D Bar Code Strategy Litmus Test: FAIL



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