Quilted Northern uses QR Code

Quilted Northern, the bathroom tissue manufacturer, has launched a new print advertisement, which features a QR Code. Before commenting on the code resolve, let me say that I love the code's call to action, which reads, "Hear what Carmen has to say about Quilted Northern Strong & Soft." Simple and direct, a reader of the ad will know exactly what to expect once the code is scanned (read: managing consumer expectations). What is a little vague, however, is the copy that refers to the code reader app and how to download. Here the copy reads, "Download the app at ScanLife.com." Not to be too picky but, what app is to be downloaded, cannot it not be named as a QR Code reader app?   

When the code is scanned, the reader of the ad is brought to a 22-second YouTube video, which is about 22 seconds too long, says nothing worthwhile and delivers even less in the way of value and/or benefit to the consumer. A well-designed print ad, but a poorly executed 2D experience. Why no information about how or why the tissue is stronger or softer? Why no information about where to purchase? Why no purchase incentive since most consumers probably shop bathroom tissue paper on price alone? These all seem like lay-up questions, yet it appears as though the marketing and creative team didn't think twice about them.

If a consumer where to go to the company's desktop website, they would find additional information about the product and company that might aid in the purchase decision. For example, the company supports Komen for the Cure, which is a breast cancer charity, but no one would know that coming into the campaign via the print ad and code scan. Too bad, because socially responsible acts like this mean a great deal to a great many people, and often give cause for purchasing a product. 

I read and view a 2D campaign like this and wonder what the objectives are and how, if at all, they will be met.

2D Barcode Litmus Test: FAIL


  1. What we're seeing in 2011 is a constant stream of "lazy QR campaigns" saturating the market.

    Most often, they are scan QR::resolve to::Youtube video campaigns - where the video (if even viewable) is unrelated to the print copy/message thereby failing to deliver cohesion between print and mobile as a single experience. The user experience is not extended, value is not added - instead, we get these disconnected experiences and a user's time is wasted.

    QR companies are all excited about how scan percentages are on the increase while avoiding the unpleasant reality that user satisfaction and interest in QR is likely on the decrease. Yes, these contradictory events can occur simultaneously: New users are trying out their new smartphone features ("curiosity scans"). Old users are not bothering with repeat scanning.

    It's a generalization with no proof whatsoever, except for my own personal experience. I still follow QR news, but, frankly, I no longer believe there will be consumer acceptance or interest in QR in the U.S. I do believe there will be extensions of real-world campaigns to mobile, but, those will happen with other technologies.

    The only people who truly believe in QR, are QR companies or printers who are selling-through more print-work without any real interest in the mobile side of the equation.

    I know that's harsh and there must be some exceptions. But, all of these "FAIL" campaigns need to stop if QR is going to turn the corner and truly become a valuable and in-demand, consumer-friendly technology.

    Why has this occurred? I can only speculate, but, it seems to me that what has been missing is a LARGE, hybrid, QR/mobile-marketing company that delivers more than just a code and analytics. All it would take are a few good examples and others would follow suit. Instead, we get a lot of resolves to meaningless or unviewable Youtube videos.

  2. Anonymous: I agree with your comments, but as I have asked you in the past, if you are the same Anonymous, what other technologies are out there, ready to overtake QR or other 2D codes?

  3. Roger is right. There is no technology positioned like the QR Code.

    And it is something retailers will force upon consumers because they are price-checking to get better deals off the traditional barcodes- so an upgrade to a QR Code on a product allows them to control in-store walkouts. A Motorola study found that 39% of people who scanned a barcode walked out of the store because they found a better deal online.

    Here's a really quickly put together video that explains it all: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RyPSpZ4xnVU