2.01.2011

The Grammys use a Designer QR Code

A multi-channel campaign has recently been launched to promote the 53rd Annual Grammys, and featured in the campaign in a designer QR Code. The billboard shown below was spotted in a New York City subway station, which is not an ideal location for a 2D barcode based advertisement (there is no Internet connection in the New York City subway system). Strike one.


When the code is scanned, the reader of the advertisement is brought to a mobile website that has a list of 'Most Recent Tags,' which is either a list of songs that people want to share, or a method by which the public can vote for songs. I can't tell which. Regardless, when a particular song is touched, the reader is brought to another page where they can play and listen to a 30-second clip of the song or, at least, that's the intention. Due to buffering issues/hangups, I was never able to hear the full 30 seconds of any song selected. Strike two.


Above and beyond the issues with scanning the code in the subway and playing the songs, what I fail to understand about this entire campaign is what does any of this have to do with the Grammys. All I can see or find is a song list and, even with that, I have no idea of how people post up a song. There is an app to download on the mobile site and maybe that has something to do with it, but I was unable to access and download the app. Why isn't there information about the awards ceremony, or who the category contenders are, or what's the history of the Grammys, etc., etc.? There is a desktop website and it is filled with this type of information and much more. So, why not on the mobile site too? Strike three.

Because three strikes usually equates with enough is enough, I guess don't have to bother mentioning the fact that this advertisement and the scan resolve has no call to action, no offer, no real value and no real benefit. The creator of the advertisement doesn't even think it is necessary to provide descriptive and instructional copy around the QR Code. And, by the way, who is the creator of the advertisement? Is it The Grammys, CBS television, both, neither, who?

It's too bad that this 2D experience is sub-par, because with so many eyes focused on the awards ceremony (and its affiliated advertising), similar to Super Bowl, Oscars, etc., it could have been a great opportunity to spread the word and raise awareness of 2D barcode technology.

End Note: When I first scanned the QR Code in this advertisement several days ago, I could have sworn I landed at a totally different mobile website, one that more or less mirrored the desktop version and was quite impressive. I wonder if the code was hijacked or if the resolve was changed somehow from one day to the next. 

2D Barcode Litmus Test: FAIL

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