HBO recently launched a three-page magazine advertisement to promote its new series Boardwalk Empire. The ad features a branded QR code which resolves to a mobile page that offers an exclusive trailer of the series...yawn.
Beyond content, offer and call to action for this particular ad, I question why the code was displayed on the very last page of the three-page spread. Why not have it front and center, relatively speaking? If I'm not hooked by the first or second page, I'm certainly not sticking around to look at the third. And, to know that this is a branded code, why bother? The brand or logo in the code means very little, because all it says is "Empire." While it is great to see a branded code being used in the marketplace the expense is not justified in this particular application. If, if, HBO wanted to do a branded code, at a minimum, I would have designed it to read "HBO Boardwalk Empire" or something to that effect.
Also, the ad tells the reader to "Scan for an exclusive trailer" but it does not tell them what to scan with (i.e., reader app) and how to go about it, so where does that leave the reader? Once again, it's remarkable to see a major brand being lazy with respect to its marketing and advertising. Does HBO believe they need not spend some time and ad space educating and instructing on 2D code use, or are they just as comfortable knowing that only those few who are first adopters of 2D will know how to scan the code? At a time when companies are still struggling to increase revenue and grow a client base, how far can/will this mentality bring them? And, as I have asked before, what could the objectives actually be for a 2D ad like this knowing that full disclosure is not provided.
Lastly, why stop at a print ad? I have seen a number of other channels/mediums used to promote the new series, but only the magazine print ads display the 2D code. For maximum 2D exposure and interaction, the code should be displayed across channels/mediums, and also include the website itself to be fully integrated.