Takeda Pharama uses QR Code

Here's a new one...a pharmaceutical company making use of 2D technology. Takeda Pharmaceuticals has launched this magazine advertisement to promote Uloric, a drug which helps cure gout. Featured in the advertisement is a QR Code which, when scanned, resolves to a mobile website.

As if there was not enough disclaimer in the printed advertisement, there is just as much on the mobile site. In fact, other than the disclaimer, the only other thing the mobile site offers is a PDF file on prescribing information, additional information on gout and a touch link for a prescription loyalty savings plan. When you touch on the prescription plan, no information is provided, there is just a prompt for a mobile phone number and wireless carrier, so the prescription card can be mailed to the reader. (I guess they trace back a reader's mailing address through the wireless carrier account??)

In the advertisement, the company provides information on how to get a code reader, but this copy could have been written much more succinctly. The copy reads, "Use ScanLife or text GOUT to 299669. You can also download a QR-Code Reader at www.2dscan.com." Why is ScanLife mentioned in this copy? Did ScanLife generate the code for Takeda, so Takeda is promoting their reader? Regardless, very few, if any, are going to know what "ScanLife" means without any further explanation. If the reader links to the URL provided, they will notice that 2dscan is a ScanLife website. Confusing to say the least. And then to say, "May not be available on all devices." What's that all about? What might not be available?

I am not a huge fan of pharmaceutical advertising to begin with, for a number of reasons, and this advertisement just makes it worse. The use of 2D in this campaign offers absolutely no value or benefit to a potential user/patient whatsoever. Why not offer consumers a list of local doctors that specialize in gout treatment? Why not provide ideas to help prevent gout in the first place (gee, how revolutionary)? Why not offer a mCoupon in case the drug is actually prescribed (perish the thought)? What about listing local gout support groups, if any such exist? 

Lastly, and this is just from a pure strategic marketing perspective, not 2D. What does a man, holding an over-sized flask, standing in the airport baggage area, have anything to do with gout, or am I missing the obvious? When will advertisers step back and ask themselves, do I really find this advertisement to be of use, value and interest? Does it enhance the experience? Is it an interruption or is it relevant and meaningful?

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