Last Friday, Texas Christian University placed a full-page advertisement in The New York Times to promote the university, as well as the fact that the school's football team will play in this year's Rose Bowl game. Featured in the advertisement is a QR Code which, when scanned, brings the reader to the university's main website.
While I have questions about the target audience for this advertisement, why it was placed in The New York Times, and the overall creative, it's still encouraging to see a higher education institution making use of 2D technology to engage and interact with its intended target audience. The effectiveness of this engagement and interaction is, however, somewhat questionable.
The QR Code instructions in the advertisement are clear and concise and it's easy to recognize and understand the call to action (scan the QR Code to view the TCU experience) but, after that, the interactive experience becomes less clear and as concise. Once on the website, there is a large purple square image with the copy "TCU Learning to Change the World", and above the image is a sub-title, which reads "Video: At A Glance." Without any real instructions or video control panel visible (i.e., buttons for start/pause/stop, volume, etc.) it is not all that intuitive to know that I had to touch the purple image to start the video. Regardless, once I started the video it did not stream well and I did not even make it to the end. It just stopped about half way through the 1.52 minute run time. Is this the "experience" TCU wanted me to partake in? For their sake I hope not. Also, as I read over the website's home page, there is no information about the upcoming Rose Bowl, yet the advertisement seems to have so much to say about it. Why the disconnect?
As with many campaigns reviewed on this blog, this one continues the trend and fails. The code scan resolves to a non mobile optimized website, the video is not optimized for mobile and the call to action falls way short by offering nothing of value or benefit to the reader/potential student. From the university's perspective, there is no lead generation mechanism built in to this campaign that I can readily find (i.e., to get the names of qualified prospective students to follow-up with and contact), so why bother launching a campaign like this.
As mentioned above, it's great to see another industry sector making use of 2D, but why it can't be a 2D experience that is meaningful, valuable, relevant and works flawlessly is any one's guess.