2D Tags in the Metro

by @edent | , , , , , | Read ~390 times.

What a joy for fans of 2D codes. London's freesheet "Metro" has adverts with two different styles of 2D codes on pages 14 and 15.

2D Codes in the Metro

In the left corner - John Lewis sporting a QR Code.
In the right corner - the Donkey from Shrek going into battle with an MS Tag.


QR Code

This use of QR code leaves me a little conflicted.
John Lewis QR Code

On the one hand, the code is too small and, either in resizing or printing, has become distorted.
Jagged QR Code detail

On the other hand, the code resolves to a great mobile site.
John Lewis Mobile Site

You can also read Nick Burcher's analysis of this campaign.

MS Tag

I've previously railed against the MS Tag. In this advert, the tag isn't the problem - the destination is.
The tag is well presented - although the disclaimer text doesn't need to mention messaging charges.
MS Tag

Scanning the tag with Microsoft's proprietary reader (assuming it's available for your phone) takes you to this rather hopeless Facebook page.
MS Tag - Full Facebook site

That's right. The tag points to the WWW page of Facebook - rather than the mobile site! The video is flash based, meaning many phones won't play it - including Microsoft's new Windows Phone 7.

Trying to playback the video is a jerky affair - and not helped by the fact that the video doesn't take up the full screen of the player.
Shrek Video

The advertiser really should have pointed to a mobile friendly video site like YouTube or Vimeo.


Despite the weakness of the MS Tag campaign, this is not the fault of the tag itself. Pointing to a useless destination is possible with either technology.

Both tags scanned quickly on my devices - although the QR code should have been bigger and clearer.

Finally, it's interesting to note that neither tag is particularly well integrated with the advert.
John Lewis could have placed the QR code as one of the boxes of the Christmas tree. The MS Tag is shunted to the side with no real consideration of how it fits in with the rest of the creative.

Overall, while it's heartening to see 2D tags going mainstream, advertisers need to work harder to ensure that their tags mesh well with the advert and that the destination is always mobile friendly.

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