Monday, November 14, 2011

QR Code Blunders #1: Beck's Vier Ireland

I've been meaning to start this series of blogs for ages, and tonight I realized that I had too big a blunder to miss. This is a QR Code blunder that is just too big to pass up. I'm currently in Dublin, Ireland, a land where competition for beer consumers could be considered to be large. Very large. So seeing a QR Code on the beer mat pictured here, I had to go with it.

The QR Code on the beer mat could be considered to be a smart marketing ploy (it is one I have suggested in the past and actually have a small, regional client in the UK doing). Imagine this following scenario. Think of grown men, in pubs in Dublin during the day, a bit bored while their friends go off to get another pint from the bar. Ooh, shiny object (QR Code), let's see what it does.

Well, in the case of the Becks example, not a helluva lot. Or if you have an older iPhone, even in great lighting (not renowned in pubs, anywhere), nothing at all. Beyond the fact that the QR Code is too small to scan and doesn't use a shortened URL, so it is more pixelated than it needs to be, there are a bunch of other failures:

  1. the URL points straight to the Facebook page they want you to visit - there is no real way to track this action and see how many people scanned that QR Code, so who knows whether the beer mat QR Code campaign is working? Just the webmaster at Facebook and I don't think he's going to tell you that for free
  2. the URL points straight to the Facebook page they want you to visit - "so you want me to login to the really slow mobile facebook page that my QR Code scanner sends me to so I can see the page? Oh look, here comes my pint. This thing is a joke."
  3. the URL points straight to the Facebook page they want you to visit - I forgot, this is Dublin, and the Guinness has to settle on the bar twice as long. I had time to login to Facebook. First thing I see is some irrelevant post about architects having more creativity than artists. Or something unrelated to beer (despite the really small tag line I missed at the bottom of the beer mat about turning beer into art). "Childish male drinking humour almost kicked into my brain sitting waiting for my pint - art, rhymes with...? Ooh, pretty girl just walked past. Where am I?". No click on the Like link should be expected.
So my pint turns up, and Beck's still only has 2184 Facebook friends, and everybody thinks that QR Codes are a stupid idea. Not really,  you just have to do them right and target your audience better.

Cheers to them for giving me a great example to kick off this series of QR Code blunders. And feel free to visit the Facebook page for the unreadable QR Code at (I had to take a photo with a good quality digital camera, then photo shop the image to get it to scan.) 

I hope that Bulmers, the owners of the distribution rights to Beck's Vier, and eightytwenty/4D who announced with such pride that they are handling the digital activity for the Bulmers brands realize the error(s) of their ways. And its easy for me to criticize here and now without offering solutions to the problem, but let me suggest that QR Codes work if you actually try scanning them with a real phone, life-sized, before going to print. And you don't rely on Facebook for your MAS (minimum attention span) marketing to mildly intoxicated blokes.

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Trickworn said...

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