Time Warner Customizes Microsoft Tags

Time Warner Cable's monthly entertainment magazine, delight, has gone interactive with the help of a new service called Crickit, which is powered by Microsoft Tags.

In the August issue, readers will find a full-page promotion for Crickit, which explains step-by-step what Crickit Tags are and how to use them (see top image below). Throughout the magazine, Tags are placed next to certain articles which, when scanned, provide readers with additional information about the television show or topic written about in the article (see bottom image below). This is all very similar to what a number of consumer magazine publishers are doing, and it makes perfect sense given that it helps bring consumers from the print world into the digital world while enhancing the overall client experience. If movies are using 2D barcodes to offer trailers, why not a cable television company.

What's interesting to note about this campaign is how Time Warner has developed the Crickit "brand" based on the Tags themselves and incorporates the Tag pattern and colors into the icon. Yes, branded barcodes have been created before using a corporate logo and colors, but this is the first time I have seen a separate brand created using a 2D barcode, Tag or otherwise. The strategy is very clever and I am curious to know the amount of scans Time Warner is getting.

One other observation, and maybe this is just me, but does the Crickit icon look similar to the Tivo icon?


  1. This is a quite good service, however i want to correct one of your remarks about naming it as the first service launched as a seperate brand because the first service which is given as a seperate 2D barcode brand is Hurriyet TikTag. Hurriyet, the top newspaper brand in Turkey, which is one of Dogan Group media companies launched TikTag as a newspaper digitalisation project to leverage print medium against internet by internalising its digital power. The service is given by aMVG, one of the leading mobile technology companies in Turkey through its Wapitect service. Wapitect has won the distinguished honoree award in "best service of the year" category in Stevie Awards.

  2. Hi Roger ...

    While I'm not convinced that Microsoft Tag is the right scanning solution, it looks like the implementation of the code - Crickit branding and all - is well-thought out and presented by the Time Warner Delight magazine team.

    All print editorial that references film or video should launch video on a smartphone. It's such a no brainer that I'm surprised we haven't seen every print publication jump on this application to add-value to "make print clickable" to help reduce declining circulation and ad pages.

    It's also interesting to note that all TV and cable networks are "late" to the table on scan codes: they have a library of video content that could easily be repurposed. Plus, it would be great to see bonus content ala a DVD ... while watching a TV show. While the FOX network announced their FOX CODE Monday (8/2/10), my sense is that they have selected the wrong kind of scan code for use on the TV screen. That said, they have done an excellent job with the landing page. I reference FOX in my article, "Top 10 Mistakes To Avoid When Integrating Two Dimension (2D) Codes ..." http://j.mp/Top10QRm

    I wouldn't be surprised if TIME magazine Person of the Year - 2010 or 2011 - was a scan code! It's just that significant to commerce ... as the U.S. smartphone penetration grows daily.

    The Time Warner use of Microsoft Tags is an example of #10 in my article about "101 Uses For Quick Response (QR) Codes: Creating Audience Engagement With The Next Killer U.S. App" ... http://j.mp/101QRuses I quote from your (excellent) 2D Barcode Strategy blog in this article.

    (Yes. I thought the Cricket logo looks like the TIVO logo too. I imagine we'll be hearing more on this topic from TIVO.)

    Dan Smigrod
    CEO & Chief Creative Officer
    Atlanta, GA USA


  3. Ismail - Thank you for the comment and clarification (i.e., Tik Tag). I have heard about the popularity of Microsoft Tags in Turkey.

  4. Dan - Thank you for the comments. I agree with most everything you write about and am curious to know what type of 2D code you believe Time Warner should have used. In so far as "Person of the Year" not sure if that's a stretch, but it would be interesting to see.