Ralph Lauren QR Code Fail

In this month's issue of Real Simple, Ralph Lauren launched a new advertisement for its Romance fragrance, and featured in the advertisement was a "designer" QR Code. From a company like Ralph Lauren, I would have expected much more. Here's why.

First, the QR Code is placed in the lower right-hand corner of the advertisement, which puts it up against the gutter of the magazine and makes it very difficult for a reader to spot. If I were not on the hunt for 2D codes chances are I would have missed it.

Second, although Ralph Lauren has used QR Codes in other advertisements, the company does nothing in this one to help educate and inform consumers about the technology. The code stands alone with no descriptive copy, let a lone a call-to-action.  

Third, when the code is scanned, the reader of the advertisement is brought to the company's Facebook Info page. Yeah, so? Now what are they suppose to do? If it is in relation to entering the trip contest that the company is promoting in the ad then why should the reader now have to hunt down the contest registration form on Facebook or the company's website? Quite a disconnect if you ask me. Why not just have the scan resolve open up to the contest registration form and, from there, the reader of the advertisement can link to either the company's Facebook page or mobile website, if there is one?

Fourth, why bother branding the QR Code in the way that they have (see the black bar with white copy)? The words can hardly be read and the overall look does little to promote the brand/product.

Great that the company wants to show itself as being hip and now by using 2D, but with a little more thought about what the code was going to resolve to, the company might have been able to get a little more mileage out of the code itself and, more importantly, readers of the ad might have benefited as well.

2D Barcode Litmus Test: FAIL


  1. Was the QR code scented ? haha - Patrick donnelly

  2. I think we are still in the early days of QR Codes. I believe that the goal they tried to achieve was a success. The QR Code stands out and makes me want to scan to find out more. Although I agree that there needs to be some call to action; in this case I would have scanned anyway.