2.08.2011

Kellogg's Crunchy Nut QR Campaign Revisited

Last week, I wrote an article about Kellogg's Crunchy Nut cereal and wanted to post a follow up.

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. 
To the senior marketing executive at Augme, please know that I will continue to post story after story on the topic of 2D barcode use and strategy, and it's up to each company (and their agency) to either wow me and the rest of the consuming public or not. Let's not make excuses for laziness, lack of creativity, lack of understanding, internal corporate politics or jumping on the band wagon.

20 comments:

  1. As a mobile professional with 2-D campaigns live right now, I appreciate very much the unbiased, execution-based analysis you give each campaign Roger. You are judging the execution you see, not the whole campaign or strategy. With 2/3 of 2-D implementations resolving to sub-standard destinations, the rest of the community needs to be held accountable and I'm glad to reference your voice for that. Please call me directly if you have any comments on our 2-D efforts:-)

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  2. Hi Roger,

    i actually thought it was a good idea.

    Cheers,
    Dean

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  3. I'll keep AUGME on my do-not-call list for services. If they can't at least feign and fake some appreciation for well thought out alternate opinions, then, their defensive posture speaks volumes about their own insecurity.

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  4. Dave: Thank you for the comment.

    Dean: It was a good idea with respect to the campaign's tag line, It's Morning Somewhere. The problem I have and the issue I raise is that the 2D execution was poorly done. Can you honestly say that the 15 second video you saw really inspired you to go buy the cereal and try it?

    Anonymous: My post was not to put down Augme, as a company, because from what I do know of them there are quite good. My post was more to the senior marketing executive and his/her groundless comments, all of which pulls the industry down instead of lifting it up.

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  5. You are brilliant! I enjoy your unbiased reviews. Keep up the great commentary.

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  6. Anonymous 2: Thank you for the comment. Much appreciated.

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  7. Wow! Sounds like AugMe's marketing executive didn't have his or her crunchy nut cereal that morning. I'd say the defensive nature of this response definitely means that he/she got some flack from Kellogg's. And for good reason. For a marketing executive, he/she could use some executive and PR training. Not a kosher response.

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  8. Anonymous 3: Thank you for your comment. Agreed.

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  9. I liked it. Took me to Ethiopia and a nice sunrise/giraffe. The video was short and to the point and everything worked great on my Iphone. I would have enjoyed a call to action/coupon.
    John Muir

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  10. John: I am curious to know where you were when you scanned the code. Please share. Thank you for the comment.

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  11. It isn't location based. It is time based. Scan it at all different times during the day, and it will show you a video of where it is morning.

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  12. Anonymous: Thank you for the comment. I too scanned the code at various times throughout the day and got the same video...Magnolia, Washington.

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  13. You can't beat a bit of old-school advertising company arrogance, can you?

    Augme - learn to take criticism and USE IT.

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  14. Steve O: Thank you for the comment. Please know that my original post, and even the revisit, was really directed to Kellogg's, as it is their campaign that I was reviewing.

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  15. I've had this exact experience. Marketers don't want to be told that the resolution of their campaign wasn't a good enough payoff.

    In the olden days no one was able to say that to a marketer, but metrics and blogs have changed things.

    Metrics alone can paint an inaccurate picture. Maybe XX people scanned the code—THIS time—success? Success will be judged NEXT time, when those same people say "I'm not bothering with that; I can watch mediocre 15-sec commercials any time".

    In calling out bad 2D campaign resolutions you're trying to prevent that loss of interest from happening (thereby helping the marketers quite a bit, no?).

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  16. Erica: Thank you for your comment. As I have said before, the purpose of this blog is to be constructive, not critical, of the work being done in the area of 2D barcode marketing and advertising. I am merely taking my 20+ years as a strategic marketer and applying it to what I see happening from day to day in the 2D space. While people/readers may believe I am being overly constructive or critical of 2D campaigns they should know that I see traditional advertising in much the same way. There are dozens upon dozens of traditional advertisements that simply fall into the rank of being an interruption, as opposed to being engaging, interactive, relevant, meaningful, valuable, beneficial, etc., etc. to the consumer. Consumers don't want to be interrupted any more, but yet advertisers won't let this go. They, the advertisers, continue to go down the path of least resistance instead of trying to figure out other strategies and tactics, whether technology like 2D is used or not.

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  17. I have scanned it at 5 different times of the day and have seen videos from Washington, Alaska, Tahiti, China, and Ireland...you might try clearing your history.

    Seems like you have been very constructive, and it is those that are commenting on this that are the ones being very judgmental without actually understanding the concepts of this. Because content can change behind a QR or SMS, it could be that Kellogg's/Augme Technology/Kellogg's Agency are planning on continuing to change the content. It is expensive to make box print runs, so they could be running with this for months at a time and continue to offer the consumer more...However, I do get your point that they might have lost some engaged consumers for the future.

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  18. Anonymous: Wonderful that you saw other locations on the scan, but a couple of other things to ponder about this campaign, even if we don't know the full 12 phases of the company's client acquisition strategy. How often does the company believe a consumer will scan the code, throughout the day or from day to day, either on the store shelf or on their pantry shelf? So how useful is seeing other locations to begin with? Does the average consumer know to clear their history to make sure they are not viewing cached content on their mobile device, probably not. If price, ingredients, taste and nutrition are key criteria for selecting a new cereal, how does this 15 second video play into this?

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  19. Well, since I sit at my kitchen table with the box in front of me on the table when I am eating cereal, I have done it 5 times...Therefore, "It's Morning Somewhere" has enticed me to eat breakfast at more times than 8 am my time...which is the point of the campaign right? Don't you talk your self into having a drink at a random time of the day because it is "5 O'clock Somewhere?" I didn't have to clear my history to see all those videos, so maybe your phone is messed up...

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  20. Anonymous: The QR Code might now cause you to eat the cereal at different times of the day but, the real question is, did the QR Code and its resolve cause you to purchase the cereal in the first place?

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