FedEx Ships A Failed QR Code

Marketers placing QR codes on vehicles is nothing new. FedEx is only the most recent example. Check out the coverage over at Others include Steven’s Pass Ski Resort’s QR on a bus and Tissot’s QR on a Nascar vehicle.

The FedEx QR warrants special coverage, however, as it provides a unique experience:

image: QR code on FedEx Van

image source: Tag It Up, LLC

The copy accompanying the QR codes says, ”It’s a whole new package. Help us open it!” A but cryptic but one could argue that it might generate curiosity.

Assuming the van is stopped and your curiosity is piqued you can grab your smartphone, open the scanner app (when oh when will barcode scanning software be embedded in the regular camera software??) and scan away. Just be sure you’re not stepping into traffic as this particular QR is on the street side of the van. Now, scan!

image: FedEx QR Scan Fail

Ouch. Who is this ‘ScanLife’ anyway? Are they related to FedEx? Either way,



What could have saved this campaign?

As far as QR codes on vehicles go it could be argued that FedEx trucks spend a decent amount of time parked at drop-off and pick-up locations. And while there, shipping-related personnel might have the opportunity, inclination and time to scan the QR code. While this is a cognitive stretch, I won’t dwell on it. Generally, however, vehicles are just not good candidates for QR codes.

Aside from the vehicle issue the other problem is testing and follow-through. FedEx is using a service called ScanLife to create QR code campaigns. The person in charge of the campaign has apparently neglected to activate the campaign in the ScanLife system. There is one sure-fire way to catch this sort of problem, testing. It is not enough to slap a QR code on marketing materials and call it a day. Testing must occur at all points of the campaign as noted in our handy How-To Guide. Testing would surely have saved this one.

7 thoughts on “FedEx Ships A Failed QR Code

  1. Pingback: FedEx Ships A Failed QR Code | Mobile Marketing FAIL | Mobile Marketing Online

  2. Greg Hickman

    Nice post Kelly. I recently found a shopping center that made their Facebook profile picture a QR code. Guess where it linked to…their Facebook page…

    So as a user I’d be on their facebook page…scan the computer screen with my phone only to land back on their mobile facebook page…

    This goes back to our conversation of people using mobile for mobile sake… It’s all tactics, tactics tactics with no thought…

  3. Kelly McIvor

    Totally agree, Greg. I think what we see a lot of is the Social Media Manager is also the Mobile Media Manager or New Media Manager but the two, while related by the fact that mobile users are doing social media, are quite different from a user experience perspective.

  4. Don

    MM Fail has been very informative and while our organization is just getting into QR coding i need to get oun team here as well. I don’t feel we have any major fails, but it would be nice to have everyone on board so you are not writings about us in your next installment!


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