10.27.2010

Jones New York uses Microsoft Tag

Jones New York is using Microsoft Tags as part of a promotional campaign/merchandising display in Macy's Herald Square store. The campaign, which is titled "Empowering Your Confidence," makes use of a dozen or so Tags on a merchandise backdrop. Each Tag resolves to a different video and talks in some shape or form about the Empowering campaign. At the end of each video, shoppers are directed to a mobile website, which then links to pages on the company's main website.

JNY Microsoft Tag

Clever use of codes, or is it?

JNY Microsoft Tag 1

First, there are no instructions provided, other than the headline on the backdrop which says, "Snap Watch It." Without some sort of instructions how does a shopper know which code to scan first? Are they all the same? Should they start on the left and move right, or vice versa? Are they missing something important if they don't take the time to scan each one? Yes, there are instructions for where and how to download a Tag reader app.

Second, the videos run from about one minute up to about five minutes. In actuality, due to buffering, it takes even longer than the said run time to view most of the videos, and videos of this length (i.e., 90 seconds and more) are simply too long in a mobile setting. Also, some of the longer videos stopped running about half-way through, after an error message comes on screen.

Third, as mentioned above, the videos all end at a mobile website where shoppers can learn more about the Empowering campaign. From this mobile site, shoppers are then directed to Jones' main website, which is not a mobile version of the site. Why direct mobile shoppers to a non-mobile website?

Fourth, after all is said and done, there is nothing being offered to shoppers for having to go through one video, two videos or more. Where's the value? Where's the benefit? What drives a shopper further along the purchase path, especially since the shopper is right there in the very department where the company's merchandise can be found? Also, where's the call to action?

Fifth, why design a merchandise backdrop knowing that the clothes are going to cover up a number of the codes? Why bother printing the codes in this location or designing a display in this manner to begin with?

Sixth, in full disclosure, I scanned the codes off of a picture that was sent to me, but I wonder how good the Internet connection is within the store to scan the codes and access the content. There can always be a dead zone in a building, did the company test the area in Macy's beforehand?

Seventh...I'll stop here.

While I have no idea what Jones' objective is for this particular campaign (I also do not know if Tags are being used in other channels), and it is always great to see another one in the marketplace, I have a hard time believing the company's marketing department is going to be blown away by the scan rates, let alone merchandise sales. There are a number of other ways 2D codes could be used in retail, which, I believe, could be much more effective.

Granted, I am not a Jones New York customer, but I can only imagine that a true fan of the company would be a bit disappointed/frustrated by this 2D campaign. Please read that again...disappointed/frustrated by this 2D campaign. I did not say that the Empowering campaign as a whole does not make sense or is without merit.

(Thank you Ralf)

7 comments:

  1. This reminded me of a quote from the NY Times article yesterday on QR:

    “this is the holy grail of advertising — interactive media in public places,”
    http://nyti.ms/aiXUXb

    The problem with video is that it isn't interactive, it's a passive "lean back" experience. It also requires the ability to hear the audio track, where emotion and tone are complemented and enhanced.

    I have to wonder if all these QR to video campaigns are missing the holy grail? There may be a way of shaping video for short, on the go, mobile experiences, but, whether or not there's a better content format is something each campaign should consider.

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  2. contentAI: Thank you for your comment. I could not agree with you more re: video being passive. At the very least, however, a company should allow consumers to pass along the video and share it with others on the off chance they do see/hear it and enjoy it. JNY fails to even attempt that. I saw the NYT article and was going to comment on it, please watch for the post.

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  3. Roger, thanks for bringing to light companies using these codes and offering your opinions, which are usually spot-on. While there are a few well-done applications of these codes, most companies utilizing them really fall short. Whether it's the in-print application (no description of what they are or how to access them), or the customer experience (video/landing page/offer)....I am very disappointed with the companies using them. One of the worst examples I've seen is from a local furniture retailer where they asked you to click on the code in their mattress ad, only to take you to the exact same ad on your phone. How can these businesses really think this is a good use of anyone's time or effort? Do you think these poorly executed will diminish the public's future interest?

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  4. Looking forward to your forthcoming Post on the NYT article.

    To add clarity to my earlier comment, I come from a (far too long) history in motion pictures, television and even internet tv.

    I believe that video on mobile does hold fascinating potential. But, having produced projects across different delivery formats, learning how to "shape story" for each audience experience is required. i.e. A television ad, placed on the internet, usually isn't a successful internet ad, and you can't migrate it further to mobile. There may be rare exceptions, but, generally, you have to create and shape the content specifically for the end user's experience. The recent Old Spice online/twitter videos being supplements to the broadcast commercials are a great example of shaping video specifically for each media format.

    Recycling video content across mediums may be cost effective, but, doesn't hold much benefit beyond that.

    Weaving video into mobile content experiences is something I hope can be done well. But, finding a formula that works well is going to take some trial and error.

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  5. Gayle: Thank you for the comment...I believe it goes without saying that the continued poor strategic planning and execution will leave consumers to think twice about scanning a code. And what a shame. Yes, it certainly boggles my mind too how companies, leading ones at that, can misfire the way they do. How the CMO or Creative Director deals/responds with these campaigns and attempts I haven't a clue.

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  6. contentAI: Thank you for the additional comment and information. What you say makes perfect sense re: reusing existing video content for mobile. That's like using an existing print advertisement and slapping a 2D code on it at the last minute just to say they did a 2D campaign. Marketing now more than ever needs to be as personal as ever...the days of mass are over and with the advent of technology brands and agencies should be able to find ways to make 2D campaigns personal, or at a minimum that much more so.

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  7. I think this is great that MSTag and QR Codes are building equity in the 2D retail space. Speaking from a marketing perspective these in-store messages have to speak and educate consumers creatively to act. If we have brand campaigns that are tech / code heavy everyone will loose. The advertisers "just sticking this weird code" on ad will loose! MSTag and QR Code creators downplaying the brand message that fuels scan action will loose as well! Tech and Creative needs to understand each other especially in the 2D space!

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