Citibank Mortgage uses QR Code

Citibank Mortgage has launched a new campaign to promote its rate protection services and featured in the campaign is a QR Code. This billboard was spotted on a New York City phone kiosk.

To experience this campaign is to experience the sheer magnitude of the company's innovative and creative marketing abilities, especially as they relate to the use of mobile as a marketing channel and 2D barcode technology. Please, keep reading. 

The copy in the ad reads, "Mortgage Rate Protection from Citibank. An opportunity to lower your rate. And raise your confidence. If our rates drop in the next three years, we'll lower yours to match. Call 1-800-MORTGAGE or visit your local branch." Also included is some verbiage about where to find a code reader app.

When the code is scanned, the reader of the billboard is linked to a static web page, which reads, "Introducing Mortgage Rate Protection. Whether you're buying or refinancing, if our rates drop more than 0.25% within three years, we'll lower yours at no charge - without refinancing again. Call Now. Mention Offer Code 11319-9. Offer expires May 30, 2011. To call later, dial 1-877-208-8337. We're available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week to assist you. Ask about current mortgage rates." Also included is some legal verbiage (terms and conditions) about the offer.

Sorry to have you read all of that, but it serves to prove a point, or several points.

First, for all intents and purposes, the only real difference between the billboard copy and the scan resolve copy is that the scan resolve copy provides a bit more detail with respect to the offer itself. So, a reader is scanning the QR Code why? Why can't all of this copy and detail be listed on the billboard itself?

Second, it seems as though the Offer Code has been inserted to serve as a tracking mechanism. Why is this needed if the 1-800 number in the ad is dedicated to this campaign, or is it?

Third, when I called the 1-800 number, the first question I was asked by the customer service representative was, "May I please have your account number?" Is this campaign targeted to existing Citibank customers or prospective customers? If both audiences are being targeted, how is an existing customer treated any differently than a prospective one?

Fourth, is the Call Now button on the scan resolve web site supposed to be the highlight of the mobile experience, let alone the brand experience?

Who could have been behind a campaign like this, the mortgage officer him/herself? It couldn't possibly be a marketing or creative professional or team could it?

The bank may know a thing or two about mortgages (wink, wink), but it seems as though they have a long way to go with respect to developing a true and meaningful 2D-based ad campaign and mobile experience.

2D Barcode Litmus Test: FAIL


  1. What do you think of financial institutions using QR Codes to link to large PDF documents- maybe not now, but when 4G and 5G come out?

  2. Anonymous: Let me ask you, would you want to download and view a large PDF document on your mobile phone, regardless of the network? Does the document offer anything in the way of value or benefit, does it help the consumer make a purchase decision, etc.?