Monthly Archives: November 2011

Pampers Tries SMS But Leaks Out Anyway

I hate diapers. On the one hand you need them to keep your baby clean and on the other hand they are filling up landfills and decompose slowly.  And the reminders come multiple times per day. Sure, we tried cloth diapers but you may not realize how much water and electricity you go through cleaning and drying these absorbent things.  It’s insane. I’m not convinced it’s worth it. I’m back to disposables.

Which leads me to Pampers. I was taking a shrink-wrapped bundle of them to the daycare when I noticed a sticker on the pack with a long number/code on it. I’m actually surprised it got my attention because the sticker was so small. Seemed almost like a packing or shipping label of some sort.

image:Pampers GTG Sticker

Turns out it was a Call-To-Action!

Naturally curious, I tried to read the thing. Ever try to read the text on a coin? It was about half that size. I needed my glasses. It was painfully small. Here’s what I saw:

image: Pampers GTG Sticker Closeup

I guess you could text the code in as part of some sort of rewards program. I’m not a ‘member’ but not knowing what else to do I forged on sending the 15-digit code to 726777.

Expecting to be told I’m not a ‘member’ I received the following message in return:
“Sorry, we couldn’t find your mobile number. Please enter your email address. Msg&data rates may apply. reply STOP 2 quit, HELP 4help & T&Cs”

Fine. I replied with my email address. Here’s the reply:
“Sorry, we could not find your email @ Pampers GTG. Please register at pampers.com. Msg&data rates may apply. reply STOP 2 quit, HELP 4help”

(wow, those CYA bits about data rates and stop and help are really annoying)

Really? I need to go to a ‘regular’ website to register? I’ve gone so far as to stop what I’m doing, locate my glasses, find my phone, send the code, send my email and now you bail on me? This site is not meant for mobile and requires all kinds of data entry. Forget it.

FAIL.

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What could have saved this campaign?

First, these stickers are way too small. I’m not a 20-something but I only got reading glasses in the last 4 months and rarely use them. I see fine in normal conditions. If you want people to participate, make it easy (maybe Pampers doesn’t really want participation?).

Second, follow MMA (Mobile Marketing Association) guidelines for promoting shortcode-based programs. This will keep you from being audited and subsequently shut off.

Third, allow people to sign up via mobile. Do NOT make them use your regular web site. People on their phones won’t type and confirm-type email addresses and passwords, fill in addresses and make a bunch of preferences selections. Let them sign up and then follow up with them (via email) if you want more info. This can be done on a mobile web site or using SMS. Contact Atomic Mobile to see how this might work.

Microsoft Launches a Mobile Advertising FAIL

I have a lot of apps on my Samsung/Google Nexus S. A couple are paid but the remainder are all free. Free due to advertising. These apps contain advertising slots that the developer hopes to sell to advertisers in order to generate a positive return. Alarm Clock Extreme Free is a perfect example. The bottom 1/6th of their app is dedicated to ads. Like one from Microsoft:

Microsoft Mobile Ad

I saw the ad above and thought, ‘ok, I’ve heard some decent stuff about Microsoft’s  Mango, let’s check it out.’  Tapping the ad I was asked first if I wanted to ‘View Ad,’ which was a little confusing because I’d just tapped the silly thing – of course I wanted to see the ad. Not sure if this is a function of the ad or a creation of the minds in Redmond, WA. but it seems like an unnecessary second step.

I tap ‘View Ad’ and, as expected, I’m whisked off to the land of my Windows Mobile 7 dreams.

Or not.

image: MSFT Site Cert

Now, I know that this  warning has its purpose and with only nacent experience clicking on mobile banner ads I try clicking ‘Cancel’. Bad idea. The same warning just kept coming up repeatedly, like a pop-up from a spam site that doesn’t want you to go away, and I never actually got to the site. I should have bailed at this point but it was starting to get interesting. Backing out, I found myself back in the Alarm Clock app looking at the same banner ad. Tapping it again and seeing the same warning I try ‘Continue’ and, thankfully it looks like I’m moving past the error message.

And onto a full website for Microsoft Store. Yikes.

image: MSFT Site

Yeah. This isn’t going to happen. Where are the goods on Windows Phone 7 “Mango”?? I’m at a storefront homepage, or so it seems (it’s very small).

FAIL.

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What could have saved this campaign?

It’s hard to tell what happened with this campaign. Here are my theories:

  1. (This is bad.) The marketer who set up the ad campaign didn’t realize that it might be seen from a mobile device. Given the gravity that success for Windows Phone carries for the Redmond giant this may be inexcusable.
  2. (This is worse.) The marketer actually knew that the ad would be seen from a mobile device, thought it was an awesome idea and did nothing. This marketer should be fired.

This could be a classic case of applying what we know about web advertising to the mobile environment but it appears that even the web portion has escaped the brains at Microsoft or, more likely, their agency.

  1. There is no payoff. Warning message aside, there is nothing that treats us to Windows Phone 7 and all its glory. We are simply shuttled to a home page. Of all channels, mobile needs to show value.
  2. Security certificates. These are incredibly important for eCommerce sites. They secure transaction and payment information from casual hackers. But this home page doesn’t need to be secure at this point. Nothing has happened. There should NOT be certificate validation at the entry point to a site where I may just want to browse products in relative anonymity.
  3. This landing site was not built for access from a mobile device. The remedy is obvious. Do NOT advertise on mobile devices if you’re not ready to give the user an experience designed for mobile.

JagTag Admits Defeat, Goes With QR Instead

Women’s beauty/fashion/lifestyle magazines are crazy with the mobile barcodes. Well, to be more precise, the ads in those magazines are crazy with mobile barcodes. Rarely do I ever see an article with a barcode that says, “Check out exclusive behind the scenes video of this interview/fashion shoot/celebrity, right from your mobile phone!” I guess advertisers are quicker on the uptake than publishers.

This month, my wife received the usual Marie Claire and of course I was the first to flip through the pages (the fact that Katie Holmes is on the cover has nothing to do with it). There are 8 barcodes. Five QR codes, two Microsoft Tags (more on this in a later post), and one barcode that was confusing. It looked like a QR code with the three squares in the corners but wasn’t your typical QR code. Plus it came with a slew of instructions as you’ll see.

See? It looks like a QR code. Curious, as always, I read the fine-print to see what they are saying I should do and it becomes clear; it’s a JagTag. The instructions say to take a picture with my camera-phone and email it to them. Unless I’m on AT&T or Verizon in which case I can send via MMS to a shortcode.

I’m on Sprint so I email the pic to the address given. Several minutes later I received an email (not text-message) that said, among other things: “..Click the link to watch how Advanced Color Lock Technology works. http://jagt.ag/ColorRevitalize3” Admittedly, this was more than the magazine ad promised to show me, which was nothing. So I clicked the link – IN MY EMAIL – and was greeted by the screenshot below.

Nice, Huh? This is a verrry tiny, eentsy weentsy video player. It’s hard to tell, I know. Here’s the closeup:

This is almost exactly the size of the video that I’m looking at on my 21″ iMAC screen. Watching the video I see that it is a 30 second commercial! Very much like you would see on the TV.  No behind the scenes scientist describing how this fantastic product is so super-awesome due to it’s polymer stuff. No bloopers of a scientist giving away trade-secrets. Nothing. A stupid ad. Sheesh.

Beyond disappointed at this point I close my browser and dream of a day when desktop computers go away and all marketing experiences will be designed for mobile exclusively.

FAIL.

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What could have saved this campaign?

I don’t need to go into the details about the use of JagTags. They were covered nicely in this post and the campaign above has identical issues. The primary issues with JagTags are:

  • Confusing and cumbersome call-to-action (MMS vs Email depending on mobile service operator),
  • The number of steps required by the user, and
  • The fact that when a user engages via email (i.e. Sprint and T-Mobile users) the content delivered is the same as gets delivered over SMS/MMS. It’s a terrible experience and one that assumes I’m reading the email from my phone.

What is really interesting about this campaign is that the folks at JagTag have finally recognized that QR codes have killed the JagTag. The ‘JagTag’ in this campaign is, indeed, a QR code. In fact the instructions even tell you that you can scan it with a QR code reader:

As a show of reluctance to give in to the QR code completely these instructions were sheepishly added at the end rather than up-front where they might have saved the user time.