Macy's Missteps with 2D Barcode

The September issue of Lucky magazine features a new Macy's advertisement, which displays a JAGTAG barcode. This is one of the first retail department stores that I have seen, other than Nordstrom, to make use of a 2D barcode.

While the ad is nicely laid out and the JAGTAG is well-positioned and explained, and the ad's headline ties in well with the call-to-action of the barcode, there is one slight problem. When the code is scanned, a video promoting the "magic" of shopping at Macy's is supposed to air but, instead, nothing happens, no video is shown. Why?   

After speaking with people involved with the production of this ad, it seems as though Macy's did not have the promotional video ready in time for when the magazine hit the newsstands, which was this past week. Whoops. Now what?

There is no excuse for Macy's, or any other company, to go this distance only to drop the ball on the one yard line. While I would like to believe that Macy's is feverishly trying to correct the situation, it should be said that companies wanting to make use of 2D barcodes must, must think out the strategy, tactics and overall campaign thoroughly and ensure that all of the moving parts are properly in place prior to launch. Failure to do so not only reflects poorly on the brand and company, but also on how 2D barcodes will be perceived in general. Think about the next time Macy's wants to use a code in an ad and what the consumer reaction might be knowing that the last campaign did not execute properly and became a waste of the consumer's time.

One other item worth noting, Macy's branded the JAGTAG with their logo, which I can understand their wanting to do, but I don't see the need for it in this application and wonder if they paid extra for it. If the code was stand alone, without an ad behind it, then it makes perfect sense.


  1. What's remarkable is that Macy's didn't adapt and make an attempt to salvage this?

    If I understand Jagtag correctly, they deliver the user a file via MMS [video or still image].

    The question is, why didn't MACYS at least deliver a still image that offered some immediate information and value? It could have been created in under an hour and the delivery cost would have been far less than the video. In two hours, a campaign with still images could have been assembled that guided users to pick up some freebie in the store. Typically, agency creatives will never let a media buy crater like this. It's bizarre they just wrote this off.

    Instead, they left customers with nada, zip, nothing. Yes, next time around, it will be a "why bother" for the consumer. I feel bad for Jagtag, since it reflects poorly on their codes, though this was something outside of their control.

  2. Thank you for the comment. Another item that I could have mentioned is, why show another "commercial" to people who scan the code. It did not sound as though anything of true or great value was being offered to the reader, just more selfless corporate promotion. Why not offer readers the chance to win a new fall wardrobe from Macy's or a trip to the flagship store here in New York?