Recently, Charles Schwab launched a print campaign which promotes the fact that nearly half of the company's clients have come through referrals. The company ties the advertisement's theme with the QR Code featured in the ad, by providing access to over 500 client reviews when the QR Code is scanned. While the premise of the campaign makes a great deal of sense, and is somewhat original, the execution could have been better. Let's take a closer look.
First, the code links to a page on the desktop version of the company's website, not a mobile site. As we know, this does not make a great deal of sense and does not follow 2D best practice. And, if that were not enough, what I don't fully understand is that the company offers account access via mobile (from the company's website: "Access your accounts on web and mobile platforms. Manage accounts, track the market, and trade on our award-winning website and on mobile devices."), but not the link from the QR Code. Why not? One would assume that if the company offers account access via mobile then they would be savvy enough to link a mobile-based interactive technology (i.e., the QR Code) to a mobile landing page/website but, perhaps, I assume too much.
Second, when the reader of the advertisement links to the client review page, the first review that's offered is dated May 21, 2011. Nothing more recent than that, why not?
Beyond the client review aspect of the campaign, let's focus on the QR Code itself. Although the code scanned successfully, it borders on being too dense, which is a result of generating a code based on a long URL, not a shortened one. The shorter the URL the cleaner the code, and the cleaner the code the easier it is to scan.
Also, notice the instructional copy under the code ("Scan to see what Schwab clients are saying."). The company tells readers to scan, but with what, how? With the vast majority of consumers still unaware of what a QR Code is, why chance it? What not more fully explain the code and what do to with it?
Again, great idea to promote real customer reviews, but the execution stumbles.
2D Barcode Litmus Test: FAIL