Washington Square Press has created a newspaper advertisement, which features a Microsoft Tag, to promote a new book called Stardust. Scan the Tag and it resolves to a site that brings the reader on a tour of Hollywood, the city used as the book's backdrop.
Although the Tag holds a prominent position in the ad and there is a decent enough call-to-action next to it (Follow Joseph Kanon on a tour of Hollywood on your smartphone!), there is virtually no information to help the reader understand what the Tag is, how to make use of it and what it means to get the Microsoft Tag reader app. Also, there is reference to "Atria Authors On Your Smartphone" underneath the Tag, and I am hard pressed to know what or who this is referring to and why the valuable ad real estate is used in this manner.
As discussed in previous posts, in order to speed consumer understanding, acceptance and interest in 2D barcodes, companies must pay greater attention to the description and instructions that surround the barcode. Additionally, while Washington Square Press makes use of a call-to-action line, here too companies need to realize that a 2D barcode cannot fully stand on its own, it needs the support of a well thought out and defined call-to-action.
I am curious to know the scan rate and success of this advertisement, especially when space in The New York Times, where this ad was found, does not run cheap.