1.14.2011

Pottery Barn Kids ues QR Codes

If the use of 2D barcode technology is all about the interactive experience then I truly wonder what the marketing and creative folks at Pottery Barn Kids were thinking.

The company's latest catalog features two QR Codes, one which links to a video about "How to pick the right backpack" (top two images), and the other to a video about "5 tips to make an eco-friendly nursery" (bottom two images). While the thought to give catalog shoppers the ability to connect with digital content is great, after all that's what 2D is all about, the experience goes rapidly down hill, however, once the QR Codes are scanned.



When the QR Code above was scanned, I was brought to a You Tube video page. Don't ask me what was actually on the video because, as far as I know, it is still downloading.



When the second QR Code was scanned, the experience got even worse. Upon scanning the code, I was brought to a mobile website that featured a video display and, beneath the video display, there were links to: Post to Facebook, Share with Twitter, Bookmark on Squance, Email your GMail Contacts and Share with QR Code. How thoughtful that Pottery Barn Kids would want to help me share the video with others, but too bad this video never played either. As I kept trying to start the video, the only thing that would appear was an error message. I even tried to access the video on a desktop PC and it too failed.

For a moment, let's forget about the second video, and focus on the menu choices I am given. Facebook, fine. Twitter, fine. Squance. What's Squance? I Googled "squance" and it came back with nothing of significance or relevance. Email GMail Contacts. What if I don't have a Gmail account? Don't my Yahoo contacts matter? Share with QR Code. Great, but what if my friend doesn't have a code reader app on their smartphone? Well, the mobile website does offer the ability to download a code reader app from the Android Market, but that would be for downloading on my phone, not my friend's.

Why are there two videos being delivered in two different ways? Why aren't the videos optimized for mobile? Why, with the second video, am I brought to a page on delivr.com? Why would the company choose to have content sitting on that site?

For a company that certainly understands marketing and even has a well designed mobile website, why so much trouble here? Does the catalog marketing group work separately from the retail store marketing group and/or corporate marketing? From start to finish, this campaign is simply a waste of time and energy for the consumer. With so much potential and opportunity it's a shame this is the way the campaign turned out. Will Pottery Barn Kids make another attempt at 2D? Or, the real question to ask is, will catalog shoppers bother to scan another set of codes in a subsequent catalog?

Note: I have an email into Pottery Barns Kids marketing to talk about the campaign. Stay tuned.

2D Barcode Strategy Litmus Test: FAIL

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