Tag Archives: magazine

Ripon Printers Uses A QR Code In A B2B Fail

Businesses who offer products and services to other businesses often lag behind in the use of new techniques to reach their customers. So I was intrigued when I saw a QR code on the back cover of the recent Chief Marketer magazine. Like the mobile nerd that I am I read only the headline, “Print and Digital Go Together Like Sugar and Spice, ” and then skipped right to the QR code (the ad was for a company called Ripon Printers). The code itself was unremarkable but there was some copy next to it that I found somewhat helpful, “Scan the mobile barcode with your Smartphone camera to download our white paper.” It was clear to me what would happen as a result of scanning the code. But what, exactly, would be downloaded? Based on previous attempts to download a document of some sort I figured it would be a .pdf, which was the first sign of potential trouble.

image: Ripon-magazine-ad-barcode

I happened to be sitting in a coffee shop so I popped out my phone and used the iNigma app to scan the code. I was taken to a web page that loaded very quickly (kudos to Ripon for that!). This being a B2B scenario the white paper was a lead generation tactic and on the web page was a form to complete in order to receive the download. Here’s the whole page:

image: Ripon-mobile-web-form

At this point I didn’t even know what the paper was about but to a degree that was my fault – I hadn’t read the whole ad, just the headline. On my phone this site was three screens long and there was no way I was going to tap out all that info using my phone’s tiny keypad just to receive a white paper.

At this point I declared this effort a modest FAIL — hardly a heinous one.

But I pressed on to see what would happen. I took the time to enter all of the required information — not a fun task with my big thumbs and the little keypad. The result was a bit confusing. The screen flashed momentarily after I tapped the Submit button but I was left on the page looking at my completed form. Did it work? It took me a while to notice the little icon in the phone’s status bar that indicated a download of some sort. I dragged the notification bar down to find that the white paper had arrived. Here we go, I thought. And this is the unfortunate result:

image: Ripon-whitepaper-on-mobile-phone

This is page 2 of the .pdf and there was no way I was going to pinch-zoom and side-scroll in order to read this thing. It was a nicely designed document but completely unreadable using a mobile phone.

FAIL.

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What could have saved this campaign?

There are two approaches to saving this lead-gen campaign when it comes to engaging people on their mobile phones (tablets, too, I suppose but does anyone scan 2D codes using their iPad??):

1) Shorten the form, reformat the .pdf   I understand that the sales team wants as much data on a prospect as possible but re-purposing your regular web form is the kiss of death for mobile. The form should simply ask for an email address and perhaps a name. Then, the downloaded .pdf should be one that was designed for reading on a mobile device with a single column, minimal graphics and large fonts. Lastly, make the web form give an indication that the download had started.

2) Change the channel to email   Mobile is a great way to capture impulse. In this case the web form could say something like, “Thanks for your interest in Ripon’s mobile expertise. We know you’re busy so just enter your email address and our white paper will be waiting for you in your email inbox.” There’s nothing urgent about reading the white paper. The key is to make it really easy to express that initial interest.

In either approach Ripon would at least have an email address they can use to follow-up and they would distribute many more copies of their white paper.

Rotocube Displays A QR Fail

This morning I was sitting at the kitchen table reading a magazine as my wife voluntarily updated my LinkedIN profile, which she said was not quite “up to par.” I’d finished an article and was leisurely flipping through on my way to the next when I saw an advertisement. I’m not really even sure why I looked but I suspect that it was the QR code included in the ad that caught my attention. Having quickly read the ad I was genuinely curious about the product. I didn’t completely understand what “RotoCube Bulletin Towers” were and the ad seemed to promise a video if I scanned the QR code.

I’d long since stopped scanning QR codes in magazines as they seem to alway disappoint me; they never really seem to make the whole scanning effort worth it. But this morning I had some extra time and my phone happened to be within an arm’s reach (Aren’t they always within and arm’s reach? It’s a little sad.) So I grabbed my now aging Nexus S, tapped open iNigma, my sole scanning app, and aimed the camera at the QR code.

image: Rotocube magazine ad

I actually held a glimmer of hope that this time I’d get a product video that showed how these things worked. Again, however, my hopes were dashed on the jagged rocks of Failville.

Rotocube-QR-Result-fail

My phone was directed to a web page.  And one of the worst one’s I’ve ever encountered on my mobile phone. It was not, of course, designed for mobile devices. But, more importantly, where’s the video?? I scanned to get a video not a web page!  The phone screenshot above is approximately the real size of my phone. Look how tiny that page is! Do you see a video? Or even anywhere one might possibly be? Arrrrgh!.

Fail.

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What could have saved this campaign?

With risk of stating the obvious, there’s one simple thing that could have saved this debacle: linking the QR code to an actual VIDEO.

Fulfill the promise
The folks who put together the print ad had a good idea; that the phone can be used to supply more information about the product than the ad can deliver. They even went so far as to anticipate that a video would be a great way to do that – I agree. But this is mobile. You can’t promise a video and then link to a page where someone has to pinch/zoom and pan around to find a possible video to click on. In mobile, you have to give them what you promised in as few clicks as possible.

But you’re not done yet
Providing a direct link to a product video would have been great and really all one could expect. But if you’re really going to capitalize on the power and impulse of mobile the video needs to work hard. Not only does it need to deliver a clear message in a short period but it needs to allow people to engage. In this case Rotocube might have asked the viewer to provide their email address in order to receive more information or a phone number where a sales rep could call them. The video should leave them with a call-to-action and an easy way to continue the engagement.

 

What do you think they should have done? 

 

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.

ASUS Computers Gets a 404 Fail

From Randy Leslein (edited):

This week’s mobile campaign was found in the lastest (Oct. ’10) edition of Wired magazine. I found the ad by scavenging the entire magazine in hopes of finding some sort of mobile campaign taking place. Oddly enough, the QR code presented on this ad was the lone thing I found in this technology magazine that is just saturated with marketing.

image: Asus QR

Asus ad in Wired Magazine

To participate with the QR code you must have a mobile device capable of reading and an internet connection. Well, that is if you want to experience the delight of a “Page not found” (image) site. Because once you scan the code, that’s where you are taken.

Once again, the world of QR code fails.

There was no payoff, and again I was left curious as to the mystery of what the code contained. I even spent a good amount of time googling variations of “Asus nx90JQ wired qr code”, with nothing left to be found. I’m starting to think that making these things available to the searchable internet may be a good idea for the campaign creators.

Having such technology in a venue that targets people who usually have smart phones also seems wise. Maybe next time they will do some more internal testing.

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What could have saved this campaign?
Randy pretty much sums it up. Testing. The QR code was clearly created before the magazine went to print. If someone had simply tested the code before finalizing the ad this failure would have been avoided. This should be SOP.
Unfortunately, ASUS didn’t use a QR generator that supports redirect which would have allowed them to change the URL (it was missing “Jq” at the end), fixing the error.
ASUS still could just replicate the landing page at both URLs. Why they haven’t done this is a mystery. Perhaps they still haven’t tested it?
Then again, the corrected url simply points to a full, non mobile-friendly landing page where you have to pan the screen in all directions or zoom out and make the text too small to read. *sigh* – Kelly

TIME Magazine Frames a FAIL

A recent post by ChinWonder had me trying yet another QR code. The code didn’t work for her so I thought it may be a FAIL worth talking about.  Well, the QR code worked for me but here’s what I found instead.

The Time Frames project is a web-based effort to organize history into some broad categories, or frames, through which you can explore related content from the TIME

image:Time Mag pop-up ad

Pop-Up Ad

archives.  Not a bad idea, I guess.  That is, until you try it on your mobile phone. It’s true, the site does load, though verrry slowly and not before a pop-up ad that is also too big for

the screen. Who knows how much of my mobile data plan is being chewed up by an image-rich site that is designed for broadband Internet users?

Panning across and up and down the site is a neat trick enabled by the touch screen on my phone the technique makes it hard to understand how, exactly, the page is organized. I tried zooming out to fit the whole site on the screen but then the text was impossible to read so I had to zoom back in and continue panning. As I do this, however, I notice a blank space with the notice, “We’re sorry. HTML5 players are currently not enabled for this account.” Huh? Who’s account?image:Time Mag Bad HTML Player What is an HTML5 player anyway? Something is broken there. There are also several flash elements on the page that are trying to load (and never will on iPhones) with intermittent success. Disregarding these I selected an article on Pope John Paul II from 1984 and the slow page-loading process started again. Sigh.

This time I scroll all the way to the bottom of the page just to see exactly how big this page is (I don’t have much patience for long articles).  It isn’t terribly long but there is a page counter that says I’m on page one of eight. Forget it. But wait! At the bottom of the page is a little box with an image of a mobile phone that says, “Read TIME Mobile on Your Phone.” Yay! A mobile version! Click. Wait. Wait some more. I’m taken to another non-mobile web page with the header ‘TIMEMobile’ and five tabs, one each for Android, iPad, iPhone, Blackberry and Mobile Site. Not being a big app fan I select the Mobile Site. The page loads – quicker this time, which is promising – and now the new sub headline says,

image: Time Mobile

TIMEMobile

“mobile.time.com The easy way to access Time.com from your smartphone.” Ok.. I was really just expecting to go right to the mobile site but it appears the editors at TIME want me to click one more time. Fine. I try clicking the big, red ‘mobile.time.com’ and…nothing. It’s not a link. I can’t click anywhere on the page to actually get to the mobile site! They have a mobile site and I can’t even get to it without typing it into my phone’s browser.

I’m done. FAIL.

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What might have saved this campaign?
Between spotty QR scanning success and the lack of access to the mobile site this campaign is in pretty tough shape.  At the very heart of TIME magazine’s problem here is that they are not recognizing mobile devices that access their site and providing a device-appropriate experience. Layered on top of that are efforts like Time Frames that don’t create a mobile version yet encourage access via mobile device. Perhaps the Time Frames team should read this.
Time needs a more strategic approach to mobile and really re-think their web experience with mobile at the center rather than mobile as an add-on. All project teams need to be in sync on this. In addition, they need to test the user experience from a variety of devices and ask themselves if broken video players and flash elements are acceptable and in keeping with their brand; I suspect it isn’t.

Reebok Fails with MMS

From Madeline Moy

I have discovered that my LG enV Touch phone can’t read QR codes or Microsoft Tags. However, it does take great photos.

So when I saw a Reebok EasyTone ad in “Shape” magazine that involved taking a photo of a “SnapTag” and sending it to an e-mail address or phone number, I thought, cool, I can finally participate in one of these mobile campaigns.image:Reebok in Shape

The directions next to the tag said: “Snap a picture of the Reebok EasyTone logo and send it to reebok@snaptag.mobi or 949.331.8147. You will receive an exclusive workout video from Reebok and automatically be entered to win a collection of Reebok gear.”

I took a photo of the SnapTag and sent it to the e-mail address. Nothing happened. I took another picture, and I sent it to the phone number. This time I got an immediate response. Unfortunately it said, “We are unable to read the image you sent. If it looks fuzzy to you it is fuzzy to us. Send another photo of the logo with the ring. Std Msg rates apply.”

The photo I sent didn’t look fuzzy to me, but I went ahead and took another photo. I sent it, and I received an SMS message with just a YouTube URL.  I couldn’t click on the link from my phone so I tried to access it on my computer, but all I got was a page that said, “The video you requested is not available.”

FAIL.

At this point I gave up. I had known that I probably wouldn’t have been able to watch the Reebok video on my phone, but it was disappointing not to be able to even access them using a computer. And I was put off by the tone of the text messages I received. They weren’t friendly or helpful and seemed to blame me for not being able to use my phone properly.

Kelly: I also tried this campaign sending the image to the email address I received an email response with subject=”Reebok” (that’s it?) and the body of the message was just a YouTube link. Was I entered to win a collection of Reebok gear or not? It doesn’t say. The video was a huge let-down. Some actress giving a light endorsement of Reebok EasyTone shoes. All this work for an infomercial? Sheesh.

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What could have saved this campaign?
It was not with clear understanding that Reebok picked a technique that didn’t require a smartphone. That is, the SnapTag only requires a phone with a camera and MMS abilities – far more phones that just smartphones. The problem, of course, is that the payoff was a YouTube video (and ONLY a video), which is the domain of smartphones almost exclusively.
1) The return SMS should have included a statement about being included in the contest as well as an easy link to type into a browser for those who can’t watch YouTube videos. Better yet, bypass YouTube and use a mobile streaming service, which works on far more devices.
2) The video needed to offer more; more entertainment, more information, even just a more exclusive, behind-the-scenes feel to it as promised.

Kelly