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When Digital Damages

At Tonic we are always interested in campaigns which utilise the latest technology, especially ones which merge offline and online worlds. One of the growing trends is the use of QR Codes, a modern take on the Bar code,  which mobile phones can translate into web addresses (as well as other simple information) using their camera.

Which is why I was intrigued when I noticed a new in-trade campaign by Peroni which invites customers to scan a QR Code printed on their pamphlets. Out of curiosity I scanned the code to see what the campaign had to offer and was disappointed to find a poorly executed campaign which did not live up to its potential and was potentially damaging to the brand.

The campaign had a number of faults, highlighted below, which we can all learn from:

  • Lack of communication on the pamphlets: Why should any patron undertake engaging with the campaign. There was no information on the pamphlets to inform, encourage or tempt people to participate. Nor do the pamphlets tell people what to expect once they scanned the code: is it a website, app or something else;
  • Poor brand experience: Mobile phones, particularly smart phones can provide a full interactive web experience. For many people it will be the first interaction they will have with a brand and it’s vital that it is a positive one. Providing a bare bones site with limited functionality and design shows a lack of understanding of technology and consumers.
  • Poor social media integration: Social media should be a key component (or at least consideration) of any digital campaign if only to allow quick sharing and interaction. Social Media appears to have been an afterthought for this campaign. The links to the social media are hidden in the bottom corner on the site and cannot be clicked due to poor development. The site doesn’t utilise the ability to share content from Facebook which provides an easy way to keep site content up to date. Nor does it show you the other people that have ‘liked’ the site which may encourage you to register.The fact that it is poorly integrated is reflected in the fact there are currently no page likes.There is also a missed opportunity in allowing people to sign up using their Facebook credentials which would not only have made registering easier but also provided another avenue to raising awareness through the social media network.
  • Content: Not only is the site design un-inspiring but the content is lacking and poor. They have more content available on their Facebook page which could have been utilised on the site to encourage participation.
  • Not Tested: The number of errors on the site was shocking and shows a lack of care and attention to detail. Errors on a site reduce consumer confidence and discourage people from participating or exploring.
club uno mobile site clubUno - error on home page

Unfortunately this campaign which has digital at the forefront fails to take any advantage of opportunities that digital has to offer.
QR Codes provide a great way to engage customers on-line in conjunction with an offline campaign. They don’t require people to remember an address and enable instant access through mobile phones which, if implemented correctly, can be a core part of a campaign. Two recent examples show that with some creative thinking the code itself can be engaging and innovative.

In Turkey a tattoo studio seeking a new tattoo artists decided to utilise QR Code as a recruitment advert and a test of candidate’s skillset. A faded code was used in a print ad and potential candidates had to fill in the code to find the web address to visit. The campaign was unique, engaging and rewarding for participants.

turkey tattoo qr code
Complete the tattoo to go through.

Guinness also ran an innovative campaign last year which used QR Codes on pint glasses which could only be read when the pint glass was full with Guinness. Once the code was scanned participants a smart phone would:

  • Tweet about your pint,
  • Update your Facebook status,
  • Check you in via Four-square,
  • Download coupons and promotions,
  • Invite your friends to join you,
  • Launches exclusive Guinness content.
guiness glass cr code
Scan it while you can see it.

Again, an engaging, rewarding campaign which utilised QR Codes to integrate with social media, push promotions and encourage friends and contacts to participate.

Finally, with current web technologies it is possible to create an engaging web site which works across all devices and doesn’t compromise experience or content. This example from shows how one site can easily scale for 3 different devices. responsive web design
Great design can be seen anywhere on anything

Using the latest trends in technology can provide a great opportunity and reflect positively on Brands. However when Brands decided to engage with technology it is it vital that it is fully understands the platform, plan it out and test & refine constantly throughout the campaign. Otherwise digital campaigns for Brands can do more damage then good.