11.01.2011

Darden School of Business uses QR Code

Darden School of Business recently launched this print advertisement, which features a QR Code.


Let's go straight to the 2:25 minute You Tube video code resolve. The video features a second-year MBA student talking about the school's MBA program and a couple of aspects of the program, which she believes sets the school a part and helped her land a decent internship. Great, but at the end of the video, the person watching the video is left hanging with no other content or web page to link to, no place to request more information, nothing. So, how does this 2D experience help the student in any meaningful way, let alone the school itself? Maybe I need an MBA to figure that out.


Now let's focus on the QR Code itself. Could the marketing/creative team have made the code any smaller? It took me three code reader apps and over a minute to finally scan the code. If I were a novice at this, chances are I would have given up long before the code actually resolved. Best practice states that a QR Code should be no smaller than one inch square and this is just about on the borderline. To see the open space on the advertisement, where the code is located, one would think that space was not an issue. Also, there are no instructions with the code and no real call-to-action. So, again, why is a reader of the advertisement/prospective student bothering to scan and interact?

There is absolutely no value add to this campaign for the reader/potential student, but there could be. What about a mobile website that offers a series of mobile optimized videos, as well as easy to read content about the program and its curriculum? What about offering contact information to "ambassadors" of the school, so personal and specific questions could be asked by prospective students? What about offering literature which discusses MBA graduate placement? Anything of real use and value, not just a two-minute video.    

And to touch on the video again, the school might want to reconsider using it, because if you listen closely enough you might get the sense that all a graduate student really has to do is buy a few "How to for Dummies" books and take a public speaking course or two, instead of dropping several tens of thousands of dollars on the MBA program.

Great that an institution of higher education wants to inject some cool factor into their marketing via the QR Code and mobile experience, but perhaps the institution needs some schooling itself on 2D technology in order to make it that much more effective (sorry couldn't help myself).

2D Barcode Litmus Test: FAIL

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