Two wrong ways to use QR Codes: ihop and Johnny Walker’s Conquista la Noche
After reading “How to: use QR Codes for Event Marketing” I have been paying close attention to some of the ways marketers are using this tool to reach their audience. And what I have noticed is that most of them are using it wrong.
The great pancake company IHOP, which by the way about 4 years ago removed the delicious Country Griddle Cakes from their menu and replaced them with corn cakes! Can you believe it?! who the heck would eat corn panacakes? Nobody. Which is the reason why they only lasted about 4 months on the menu. Sorry about my rant, but I love Country Griddle Cakes and I will never forgive IHOP for this. Never. Ok, lets get back to how awful IHOP is at using QR codes. They are so bad that they dont even use a QR code. Please take a look at exhibit A below:
This poster was hanging in the tiny waiting area of an IHOP restaurant located in Fair Lawn NJ. First, the one thing they got right was that they created a mobile version specifically for the mobile part of this campaign. On the other hand, as you can see, the only way they are directing traffic to their mobile site is via the written URL http://ihop.com/mobilejoin. Now, many of us are aware that feature phones still make up more than 65% of all mobile phones in the US. Of course their numbers are declining quickly and Android, Blackberry and iPhones continue to grow. So why not add QR Code to the mix and keep the URL as well? Beats me. Maybe the same befuddle genius that was behind the removal of the Country Griddle Cakes from the menu is responsible for this digital marketing blunder. Maybe some of you can reach out to the IHOP marketing team and let them know that they should start using QR codes… and to bring back Country Griddle Cakes
Unlike IHOP, Johnny Walker actually uses QR Codes heavily – specially in their Conquista La Noche promotions. In exhibit B, the marketing pieces used by Johnny Walker (collected at a promotional event in NJ) both have QR codes – the larger one is links to their facebook page and the smaller on the right side is given to you once you take a pic with two models on their red carpet and it links to their flickr account. Both of these links are not mobile friendly.
This is the other way to use QR codes incorrectly. Print them on your collateral and link them to every social networking site available, but not to a branded mobile site that can be use as a landing page where all visitors can learn about the product/service; maybe sign up for a newsletter; and guide them social networking sites.
I am going to keep my eyes open for other ways marketers are using QR codes and let you know what I think of their strategy.