Lead by Example or Maybe Not

 Allstate, the insurance company, placed this full-page insert into the latest issue of the Association of National Advertisers' (ANA) member magazine. The purpose of the QR code-based insert was to congratulate the ANA on its 100th anniversary. When the code is scanned, it resolves to a text message which reads,  "100 years of helping advertisers find innovative ways to sell stuff. Congratulations from Allstate."

Allstate QR Code

How clever of Allstate to make use of 2D technology to deliver such a message, but is Allstate really doing themselves, as well as their fellow advertisers, any favors by executing a 2D campaign in such a manner. Granted, the publication's target audience is other advertisers/businesses and Allstate is not out to sell a particular product, but should there be a difference, or should certain assumptions be made, between how 2D is executed for B2B and B2C? In my opinion, I don't believe there should be.

By taking the minimalistic creative approach that Allstate has, how many people are going to see and or understand Allstate's congratulatory message without a headline, a tag line, a logo, a set of QR code instructions, a URL address, etc.? Is Allstate trying to purposely segment their audience between those that know about and understand 2D and those that don't, or between those that have a smartphone and those that don't? From this perspective, I am perplexed by the insert. Also, if Allstate wanted to present an advertising/marketing technology like this, why not go full-bore and showcase the real merits and capabilities of 2D technology instead of delivering a plain vanilla text message.

Without knowing the real objective of the campaign it's hard to determine what the answers might be to these questions. And, although I am trying not to over think the insert and the company's intention, I do believe there is merit in saying that campaigns that are executed in a less than optimal way will only serve to slow the overall acceptance, adoption and use of 2D technology here in the U.S.

(Thank you ,Vickie)


  1. Pretentious?

    Not everything should segue to mobile. A message of "Thank you ANA" can be spelled out and someone can grasp the sentiment and value in a few seconds.

    This ad simply wastes a minute of someone's life if they engage with the code. Not respecting people's time is perhaps the largest mistake a QR campaign can make.

    Print still has a value, simply as print. QR Tags should not be everywhere.