Gotham magazine is using Microsoft Tags throughout their holiday gift guide, which can be found in this month's issue. In the front of the magazine, there is a page (see image below) which introduces readers to the Tags, explains how to scan them and describes what the Tags resolve to.
In the holiday gift guide section of the magazine, from one page to the next, there is a featured item and that item is anchored to a Tag, see example below. When the Tag is scanned, the reader is brought to the holiday gift guide page of the magazine's web site and, more specifically, to the section in the guide that the featured item pertains to. This is where the experience gets a little confusing or, shall I say, less than optimal.
On the page shown above, a toy house is the featured item. When I scan the Tag, I expect the resolve to be a product page for the toy house but, instead, I am actually brought to the children's section of the holiday gift guide, where this item is displayed, as well as a number of other gift items and regular magazine content. After studying the page for a moment or two, I realize that I need to touch a link on the toy house image in order to learn more about the item. When I touch this link, I am directed to the manufacturer's home page.
The process is a little convoluted, but then I realize Gotham is not actually selling the merchandise, just promoting it. Nevertheless, I believe Gotham's creative and marketing team could have done a few things differently to have made this a much more effective and efficient campaign. First, they could have optimized the site for a mobile audience since they knew they were promoting the guide to mobile users. Second, they could have created product pages for featured items in the holiday gift guide. On the product page there could have been a link to the manufacturer's web site. Third, at a minimum, if nothing else was changed, the team could have linked the featured item to the specific product page on the manufacturer's web site, as opposed to linking readers to the home page.
What starts to be a thoughtful use of 2D ends up being a bit cumbersome in my opinion. There seems to be too many steps involved in what should be a rather quick and easy process. I do, however, credit Gotham for the introduction page, as well as including URL addresses next to all of the codes, so that non-smartphone readers can view the information being offered. It will be interesting to see if Gotham continues to use 2D past the holiday season.
Lastly, just an observation. I notice that Gotham mentions Microsoft by name, as it describes the Tags. In many other advertisements which use Tags, I have noticed that the advertiser does not mention Microsoft at all. Is this a conscience decision on the part of Gotham and other Tag advertisers? Do some companies believe there is an advantage to mentioning or being associated with the Microsoft name/brand, while others do not?