Nat Geo uses QR Code

A quick post, as I return to my office from the holiday weekend, which I hope you and yours were able to enjoy.

National Geographic is currently running this multi-channel campaign to promote its television show "Great Migrations." Featured in the advertisement is a QR Code which, when scanned, brings the reader to a mobile optimized website. Once on the site, a reader can access a variety of information about the animals and locations covered in the television show.

Nat Geo QR Code
While the mobile site works well, there is one small glitch that I experienced with the video featured on the site's home page, it did not work. Instead, I got a message which read, "Sorry, your handset does not support this video format." Having one of the newer phones on the market, I'm hard pressed to know just which handsets do support the video. Did National Geographic thoroughly test the video on a variety of devices prior to launch? Did Nat Geo think to use a video optimization application in order to prevent the glitch from happening in the first place?

Something else worth noting about the mobile website is that there are a number of banner ads on the site. While I understand the meaning and purpose of banner ads from a revenue generating and branding perspective, etc., should they be there to distract and take away from the content which Nat Geo is trying to deliver? In my opinion, I don't believe the banner ads should be present. To me, it's a matter of "interruption" marketing versus "permission" marketing, and it is the latter that companies should consider when developing a 2D campaign.


  1. This appears to be a continued theme of the wrong people working on a mobile implementation.

    In this case, it sounds like the "internet team" got called in. They don't understand mobile video or treat it like internet video. And then they litter a tiny little mobile site with banner ads thinking what? They'll gain revenue? Or, they either can't get out of the mindset of online or tested it on an iPad and thought all was fine and dandy?

    QR campaigns seem to often be managed by either print or internet teams, neither of which have an understanding of mobile engagement or the technologies, or vendors, required to deliver a successful campaign. In part this is probably due to their simply not being a "mobile department" yet? Or, those in print and internet wanting to prove their value and relevance in an ever-shifting mobile economy.

    What's remarkable is how sloppy so many of these campaigns are.

  2. Another problem is that most mobile solution providers simply cannot deliver a video to be rendered properly on all devices and all operating systems cost effectively. Augme Technologies is the only mobile solution provider that can render all mobile content to all devices properly without the extra work of going through each system one by one and optimizing.