10.27.2012

QR Codes, Which One Wins

Usually, I'll review one QR-Code-based ad at a time, but today, I thought to review two ads head-to-head, one from Seiko and the other from Tissot, and see which one offers the better mobile/QR Code/brand/interactive experience.

The Seiko ad.

When the QR Code is scanned, the reader of the ad is brought to a mobile website, which features the following menu options: 1) Astron (the name of the watch model) Gallery, 2) Astron Video, 3) Seiko & Astron, 4) Find Us on Facebook, 5) Join Our Mailing List and 6) Find an Astron Retailer. Also listed are widgets for sharing the site via Facebook, Twitter and email.


The first menu option provides basic product information for watches in the Astron collection. The second option provides a product video as stated. The third option provides more information about the collection. The fourth, fifth and sixth options link to pages that one would expect based on their respective descriptions.

The Tissot ad.

When the reader of the ad scans the QR Code, he/she is brought to what appears to be the company's home page but, in reality, it's a page within the desktop version of the company's website. At the top of the page, the word "WARNING" is written in red letters and below this headline is a block of copy, which informs consumers about counterfeit merchandise. While I understand the need and importance of this type of disclosure, I don't believe this is the proper time and place to post such information.


Looking past the counterfeit related copy, it's worth noting that the page took an inordinate amount of time to fully load, which I suppose is due to the fact that there are about 90 product images on the page.  Because it was taking so long for the page to fully load, I opted to view the page on the desktop (that's how I realized it was the same version as the desktop) and tried to experience the site/page that way.

When a product image is clicked on, the reader of the ad is brought to a product information page, which offers basic product information and nothing more. Other than the individual product pages, there is a navigation bar at the bottom of the home page, which includes links to: Collections, Sports, Ambassadors, Stores, News/Events, The Brand and Shop. Because my patience was tapped by having to wait for the page to fully load on my mobile phone, I did not bother to explore these areas much further. Besides, I assumed they linked me to information related to the descriptor used.

Beneath this bottom navigation bar, at the very bottom of the page, were icons for Tissot App, Augmented Reality, Facebook, RSS Feed and You Tube. If it weren't that I was viewing the scan resolve page on the desktop, I would have missed these icons altogether, as they appeared much too small on my mobile screen to notice. Here too, I did not click on any of these items to explore further, because, for all intents and purposes, they would have been missed on my mobile phone.

And the Winner is...

With both campaigns, no real value is being offered to the consumer. Yes, product information and retailer information is provided, but not much else. There is no real incentive or motivation which might move a consumer further down the purchase decision path. Although both campaigns offer the ability to share the campaign/experience socially, I'm at a loss to understand why either would be shared in the first place, as the experiences are so lack luster.  

What if either company offered a travel sweepstakes to enter (Japan for Seiko or Switzerland for Tissot), or a contest to win branded merchandise, or the ability to attend an event that Seiko or Tissot sponsored? Something, anything, where the consumer will want to participate and engage further with the brand. If a consumer takes the time and makes the effort to read an ad and scan a QR Code, there should be something of substance being offered to extend and maximize the interaction and engagement. It shouldn't just be a matter of offering product information.

Beyond the idea of value, I would say the Seiko campaign did offer a better mobile experience, simply because the company offered a true mobile website, not a repurposed desktop website. From a competitive differentiation perspective, and with all things being equal, it cannot be stated enough that the user experience matters and matters a lot. How and why companies continue to force the desktop onto a mobile device continues to baffle me.

So, is there a real winner between these two campaigns? In my mind, not really. I left each experience being underwhelmed and, if I had been in the market to purchase a high end watch, I honestly don't believe I would be that much closer to purchasing either one. An opportunity lost for both of these brands, which is a shame knowing how much was probably spent on these campaigns.

2D Bar Code Litmus Test: FAIL and FAIL

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