QR Code Basics

Scottrade, the financial services company, recently tried their hand at using a QR Code and, guess what, it fails.

The size and placement of the QR Code is fine, but there are two other components of the advertisement that I question. First, the call-to-action (Scan now and get up to $100 back in account transfer fees**) is somewhat appealing, but why the asterisks? Oh, right, the regulatory disclosure needs to be pointed out and mentioned. Not sure about you, but as soon as I see an asterisk next to an offer that offer immediately loses value and meaning. In this case, there is a certain minimum that needs to be invested in order for the offer to hold. Why not offer something that does not require regulatory oversight? What ever happened to the free toaster?

Second, when the reader of the advertisement scans the code, the resolve links to the corresponding product page on the desktop version of the company's website. Sure there is a lot of information on the page, but there is no direct tie-in and/or reinforcement of the message found in the print advertisement. Question to the company's marketing team, have you ever heard of or made use of a customized landing page and a mobile one at that? With such a page, the graphical imagery found in the print ad could have been used as a tie-in, there could have been a clearer reiteration of the promotional offer and the ability to make an investment could have been simpler. Also, by using different landing pages, perhaps the company could have tested one version versus another, and determined if one version resonated more with consumers and pulled a higher response rate.

Simple in theory, yet so many companies just want to ignore the basics when making use of 2D technology. Is the marketing team really jazzed by a $100 promotional offer with strings attached, or was this just the easiest offer to make? Are they glad they went to the desktop version of the company's website after scanning the code with their mobile phone? You be the judge, or we can let the consumer do the talking and see just how many took Scottrade up on their offer.

2D Barcode Litmus Test: FAIL

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