12.24.2012

Bud Light Switches Bar Code Format, Why?

Earlier in the year, Bud Light used a SnapTag as part of a Super Bowl promotional campaign, but, for next year's event, it appears as though the company has chosen to replace the SnapTag with an open-source QR Code. If you are not familiar with SnapTag, it's a proprietary "2D bar code" that's based on what SnapTag's owner, SpyderLynk, calls Code Ring technology. Essentially, the advertiser places their logo, or image to be displayed, inside of a circle (the code ring) and the circle is broken up in a certain way, so as to create a unique code symbol (see below for examples).   

When I see this happen (i.e., a company switching code formats from one campaign to another), the first question that comes to mind is, why did the company's marketing team decide to switch formats? In the case of Bud Light, did the SnapTag not deliver or perform as expected? Did the SnapTag scan process prove too labor intensive for consumers, versus what's known of the QR Code scan process? Was it overly expensive to develop, generate, manage and /or track the SnapTag? Or, was it a simple matter of using the 2D bar code format that has become the de facto standard when it comes to a brand wanting to offer a print to digital experience to its customer base (i.e., the QR Code)? My guess, it's the latter. 

Another thought/question that enters my mind, and is somewhat related to the above is, did Bud Light's marketing team actually test the use of SnapTags and, if so, how was the test conducted? Or, is it a matter of no testing whatsoever, and the thought to use a more mainstream code format simply prevailed. Anyone from Bud Light wish to shed some light on the subject?

One other aspect to consider regarding this story...what's the latest with SnapTag, as a code alternative? In the marketplace, I have not seen a SnapTag in use for quite some time and, in reading the company's website, it does not seem as though there is much in the way of news and/or new client wins. Anyone from SpyderLynk wish to provide some updates?

As 2013 arrives and starts to unfold, will we see proprietary code platforms like SpyderLynk finally capitulate to the open-source QR Code?

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