Holland America Line uses Microsoft Tag

On the back page of this month's Food & Wine magazine, Holland America Line is running this advertisement, which features a Microsoft Tag.
The company leaves no stones unturned with respect to the call to action (For a taste of our culinary expertise) and instructions, which accompany the Tag (...scan this tag with your Web-enabled smartphone. Download the free Tag Reader at gettag.mobi and follow the easy instructions, or simply copy www.explorehal.com/dining/foodwine into your browser.). This is the way to educate the consuming public about 2D technology. Does all of this copy take up too much ad real estate? You be the judge, but I do not believe it does. Could it have been said in fewer words, perhaps.

Now, let's get down to brass tacks. When the Tag is scanned, the reader of the ad is brought to a 53-second video that plays in over two minutes, or at least for me it did. At the end of the video, the reader is left with an image of a delicious looking lobster tail, but nothing else. No links to anything or anywhere. While I am not sure how other readers of the ad might react, my reaction is, "Hey! Holland America, you just left me stranded at the dock. Now what am I suppose to do?"

The creative for this ad is beautifully done, as is the creative for the video itself but, why can't companies see past a video these days, as though video was the end all and be all? Especially in the mobile channel. Yes, a video like this may help prospective passengers get a better sense of what the food service is like aboard a modern day cruise ship, but then it (the mobile/2D experience) just stops dead in its tracks.

As I have mentioned in other recent posts, I am not about to start giving away the store with respect to what the company could or should have done, but suffice it to say it could have been a lot more. Just the video itself could have been optimized for my particular mobile device or for mobile display in general.

Side note...I still find it curious that hardly any company making use of Microsoft Tag does not mention Microsoft by name, just Tag or tag. Does the use of the brand name not lend itself to anything? 

2D Barcode Litmus Test: FAIL


  1. I completely agree with you with regard to the mobile user experience. Once the user views the video, then what? We at Force 5 developed a system for providing a rich end-user experience for one of our clients (Starcraft Marine). You can read more about it at:

  2. Wish I could have been first to post so I didn't have to say "I agree", It was like my sailing on Eurodam, "much said about ho hum", get with it creative guys.