Nice QR, but does it work?

I love finding anomalies. MrO says I’m never satisfied, but I suggest I’m just a pragmatist – all my grand schemes are tempered with doubt that an idea will succeed, because how can you achieve perfection without finding and fixing all current (and potential future) errors?

As a kid this mistake spotting got me into trouble. When a teacher made a typo on the blackboard I’d leave my school desk mid-discourse and correct it. Not to be a smart arse but because I had to. For the greater good.

One of my skillz is happily conceptualising futuristic innovations at the beginning of a project and then constructively critiquing everything the rest of the way through. I’m doing it for the right reasons and thus useful during UAT but my joy at nitpicking takes a bit of getting used to.

My latest pet whinge is under-tested digital elements in advertising campaigns. Aka QR codes that just don’t work.

Like the Fanta billboard at Bankstown station:

More Fanta, Less Serious billboard at Bankstown Station

More Fanta, Less Serious billboard at Bankstown Station

I had 7 minutes to kill before the train was due and figured that’d be enough time to download the app. Because surely this campaign was targeted at me, the bored commuter? I was impressed with the campaign having both an Android & an iPhone app and was also impressed with the simplicity of the C2A: (1) download app (2) play.

And I loved that they’d used image recognition (IR with a slight AR [augmented reality bent]) not just a QR code. But unfortunately in the app store I came across a roadblock: “This app is more than 20MB, connect to wifi”

Fanta PlayZone iTunes app - more than 20MB connect to iTunes

Fanta PlayZone iTunes app - more than 20MB connect to iTunes

I do passionately believe there should be uninterrupted, free strong wifi Sydney-wide, on trains & at  stations (I could go on about this for hours). But there’s *not* yet commuter wifi. So am I really going to remember to download this app when I get home tonight? Or will I just stare sullenly at the billboard every morning, pissed off that I forgot to download the app yet again & can’t join the playzone adventure?

Truthfully – I’ll download it because I’m in a blogging mindset and I’m curious to know if the 20MB Fanta app works at all – especially after my recent experience with a particular CKOne ad.

I came across the CKOne attempt at IR in a fashion magazine & wasted more than 20 minutes of my life trying to get this one to work, but it never did. Pity, as the creative looked awesome and I’d have probably bought shit if the scan took me anywhere:

Attempting to scan the whole magazine page using the CKOne app

Attempting to scan the whole magazine page using the CKOne app

Another train station ad caught my eye at Canterbury station earlier this week. The billboard is for Sony and the guy reminded me of a talented artist I know who is wasting his life on meth. Oh, plus the QR code grabbed my attention. So I whipped out my iPhone Scan app and aimed at the QR code. But it was too small. And I haven’t yet found a QR code scanner with camera zoom. 

Considering I was on a train in the middle of the tracks it means I was closer to the sign than most commuters on the opposite platform would ever get, so I’d guess that successful scans of this ad are quite low:

Sony billboard at Canterbury station, with QR code

Sony billboard at Canterbury station, with QR code

Unless you are sneaky… You see, blatant segue, there’s an awesome new coffee shop near my work in Redfern (called Coffee, Tea & Me and i wrote the briefest post on it here). They’re using the Wealie app instead of a customer loyalty card, i assume for environmental reasons. Or maybe they’re just cool.

Every time you buy a coffee you’re meant to use Wealie to scan the QR code taped to the cash register which “stamps” your virtual coffee card:

Coffee, Tea, Me - Wealie Loyalty Card app instructions

Coffee, Tea, Me - Wealie Loyalty Card app instructions

Except that two guys I know figured out a trick – instead of scanning, they both photographed the code one day. Now they secretly scan each other’s QR codes to get free coffee. Not only does that sound like a double entendre, it’s surely bad karma.

So, back to the Sony billboard – to get the QR code to work/actually scan I photographed it on my iPhone, emailed it to my iPad, zoomed in on the QR code & scanned it. Luckily after all this effort the code worked & took me to the Sony campaign site. It was a little boring (didn’t seem wholly optimised for mobile) so i googled Mark Drew himself & spent a little time looking at his great art… Ergo i suppose the Sony billboard was not an entire loss.

Sigh. I guess QR codes aren’t the future. Or are they?

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