It seems as though my hunch was correct, the company Augme is involved with the QR Codes that appear on the back of Crunchy Nut cereal boxes. When I tried to speak with a senior marketing executive from Augme about the campaign, I was told in an email that "when the observation you made has zero relevance to the overall strategy, Kellogg's comes to us for clarity. We then decide whether it is worth commenting on." Additionally, the senior marketing executive said, "I strongly suggest getting a better understanding of consumer response technology and strategy before making those statements which offend major brands and agencies which work diligently on turning static media like a cereal box into rich media, and utilize key customer acquisition capabilities of mobile to customize content experiences as the brand gets a foot hold in the market." And finally, "We always appreciate comments, but I or Augme would not be interested in perusing further conversation."
While I'm not sure what any or all of these comments may say to you, this is what they say to me and how I would respond:
- Kellogg's probably caught wind of my not too favorable blog post and thought to take Augme to task over the comments I made. Keep in mind, the biggest issue I had with the campaign is that there is a 15 second video on the code scan resolve which amounts to very little, if anything, in the way of delivering real value and/or benefit to the consumer.
- Because I do have a good understanding of 2D technology and client acquisition strategy, I know that delivering a video such as this via a QR Code amounts to nothing more than an interruption, and interruptions are the last thing for a new, or any, product (Crunchy Nut is a new product) to make use of to gain a foot hold in the market. Last I knew, it took incentives like coupons, contests, giveaways, a darn good product offering with real competitive advantages, or a relevant and unique product story to gain a foot hold and win new customers.
- If my constructive statements offend major brands and agencies, so be it. I am not the CMO or creative director developing and signing off on one 2D barcode campaign after another that sorely lacks in adhering to marketing fundamentals, let alone 2D technology fundamentals to ensure that codes are scanned correctly. I refer back to a campaign that a major national department store did where the video linked to the code used in a print advertisement was not ready in time for when the ad launched. If I go ahead and call out the company on this misstep I'm the one offending, please. Why shouldn't the company be blamed for offending all of the consumers that saw the ad, scanned the code and got stuck reading an error message?
- How well thought out is the "customized content experiences" used in this campaign? Okay, it seems as though each scan is detected for geo location and the video shown on the scan resolve follows suit. But if Kellogg's is working with six global agencies on this campaign (this was mentioned to me by the Augme senior marketing executive), why not take advantage and show consumers scanning the code a video of people that live halfway around the world and how they like to eat Crunchy Nut for breakfast or anytime? To me that would be more interesting, more engaging, than watching two people walking in a field. (In the video I saw, two people were walking in a field in Magnolia, Washington.)
- Lastly, in regard to the senior marketing executive's wish to no longer have a conversation with me, it should be noted that I reached out to this person first and asked if Augme was involved with the campaign. I also said that even if the company was not involved, I would still welcome a conversation, because I am always interested in speaking with new and different companies in the 2D industry. This is what gets me the most...here I am trying to have an open and frank discussion, on a professional level, about a topic of mutual interest and the answer is no, we don't want to have a conversation. Sound defensive? It does to me.