What does it say when a leader in the 2D barcode industry stops using their own proprietary barcodes in their print advertising? Frankly, your guess is as good as mine, but I'll take a stab at it.
A few months ago, Microsoft ran a magazine advertisement to promote its Office 2010 software, and featured in the ad was a Microsoft Tag (see top image below). In this month's issue of WIRED magazine, I spotted the very same advertisement sans the Tag (see bottom image below). So what gives?
For starters, it strikes me as strange that Microsoft does not use Tags in a comprehensive and integrated way throughout all of its marketing, advertising and promotions activity. What better way to introduce and educate business professionals and individual consumers on 2D technology and, just as importantly, to gain market share and share of mind versus the 2D barcode competition.
To pull the plug on using a Tag in this campaign tells me 1) the response rate did not meet management's objectives and or 2) there was no real strategy behind the use of a Tag in the first place. If it was a matter of not meeting objectives it would be interesting to know what they were. Were they based on the number of Tag scans, number of product demonstrations downloaded and or number of software sold? If it was a matter of strategy why wouldn't a company that knows and understands 2D technology like no other not have a strategy in place?
In my mind, these marketing based issues seem like a lay-up for a company such as Microsoft, or is it simply a matter of Microsoft being faced with the same creative and managerial issues that other companies seem to run into when it comes to developing and implementing a 2D campaign. Does the pulling of the Tag in this campaign have anything to do with the future of the Tag barcode? Not that I want to read into something that isn't, but one can suppose.
All told, Microsoft's action in this campaign baffles me. If anyone from the company cares to explain and comment I, for one, would welcome the conversation.