‘Tis the season for gift-giving so it isn’t surprising to see American Express pushing a sweepstakes where gift card recipients have a chance at $100,000 cash prize. This large ‘carrot’ appears to be the incentive for shoppers to purchase gift cards at local shopping malls to give to their friends and family. Though, it turns out the giver isn’t entered for the prize, just the recipient. I would have thought it would be the other way around.
I’m not a fan of the gift card. I like to put a bit of thought into gift-giving. Still, I was curious about this promotion from Amex. I happened to be at the Customer Service desk at a local mall and saw a small flyer for the sweepstakes. Other signs/posters were seemingly everywhere but this little 3in x 5in flyer, unlike the other materials, included a QR code so I grabbed one.
Apparently as a recipient of one of these cards I’m supposed to go to the URL provided or scan the QR code – though there were ZERO instructions as you can see. But I know what to do and scanning the code, my phone’s browser is opened and I get:
Security? What’s going on here? Is this site not safe for me to visit? Should I view the certificate? This IS American Express, right?? Forget it.
What could have saved this campaign?
There were two things you probably noticed in this entry:
1) No instructions to accompany the QR code. While QR scanning continues to increase it is still only familiar to very few, around 10% of mobile users. Always include instructions.
2) There is a problem with the security certificate for the mobile site. This is really a very silly error on behalf of American Express. As a financial services company Amex should always have clean security certificates. If there’s one place you don’t want people wondering about security it’s on sites that have to do with money.
As it turns out, once past the security warning you are taken to a decent mobile site where – as a card recipient – you need to enter your card number in order to enter the $100k sweepstakes. This is likely the reason for the secure site.