Jeep Ad Provides Example of QR Code & Mobile Best Practices

Jeep QR code connects readers to deals on mobileThis full-page Jeep ad that appeared in newspapers this week is a great example of ‘Best Practices’ to follow when using a 2D barcode in advertising. A recent poll from AskingCanadians revealed that 58% of smartphone owners who scan 2D barcodes are scanning them from newspapers (just like this one) and magazines.

The Experience
Once scanned the QR code resolves quickly to a mobile friendly page. Three simple drop down menus help the user to select region, brand (you could also select Chrysler, Dodge or Ram deals), and model. The selected vehicle page loaded quickly and featured a photo, price, features and detailed description. A button labelled ‘Get This Deal Now’ could be tapped to find a dealer near you, besides the prompt by the page to ‘Use Your Location’, dealers could be found by inputting a postal code. The dealers are listed with contact information clickable phone number (it is a phone after all), map location, and a link to a mobile friendly email contact form.

1. The ad uses a QR Code.
The term QR code refers to Quick Response codes. These are an open source type of 2D barcode that was created in the mid 90s by Japanese corporation Denso-Wave as an efficient way to track auto parts. It can be read by the largest number of 2D barcode reader apps. Most 2d barcode providers include QR codes as an option.

2. The QR code is a readable size.
An optimal size for a QR code is around 1 inch. This allows it to be clearly read by most smartphone cameras. A ratio of 10:1 is a good practice to follow when considering how big to make your QR code. A QR code in a print ad, where a reader’s camera phone would be used at a close distance of 10-15cm should be an inch or 2cm.

If you are considering using a QR code on wall poster where most readers will be approximately a metre away from, then a 10cm square code would be appropriate. Angle of surface, lighting conditions are other important factors to consider. Other types of 2D barcodes such as ScanLife’s EZcodes and Microsoft’s Tag have a simpler structure and can be made a bit smaller. However they require a specific type of 2D barcode reader apps.

3. Set expectations
There in a clear call to action to motivate the reader. The copy reads “Scan Here for More Great Offers”, which fits in well with the theme of the ad. The usage of the QR code makes perfect sense as a way to connect the user to relevant content at that moment.

4. Provide a mobile friendly destination
The mobile landing page loads quickly and feels like a natural extension of the print ad allowing me to quickly find an offer on the vehicle I am interested in.

5. Provide value
When scanned the QR code resolves to a mobile page where a reader can fine additional offers on Jeep & Chrysler vehicles of their choice, as well as a contact information for a local dealer.

The only parts of the execution I can critique are the absence of an alternative URL and instructions on how to use the QR code. While 86% of smartphone users recognize what a 2D barcode is (according to a recent AskingCanadians poll), the majority of people still may not understand how to find a 2d barcode scanning app or what to do with it.

CNN Begins Experimenting with On-Air QR-Codes

CNN Impact - QR CodesToday I came across CNN using an on-screen QR Code to direct viewers to additional content on their mobile site. After researching a bit online, it turns out that the cable news channel began using these last weekend.

CNN has consistently been experimenting with social and mobile platforms over the past few years, having been one of the first media outlets to use Twitter to enhance their news coverage.

In this case, the QR Code was used as part of CNN’s Impact Your World Japan feature and when scanned directed viewers to a mobile page where they found links to organizations that are helping in the earthquake/tsunami relief effort.

The QR code was shown on screen at the end of the segment for about 10 seconds, which was nowhere near long enough to find my phone, turn it on, find my QR scan app and point it at the screen. The code did appear like it would be large enough to scan from across the room and I was able to easily scan it from the original photo to the right. It would be a good idea to have the QR Code shrink to the corner of the screen for a few minutes, and have it appear at a size that still be easily scanned without having to dash up to your screen. Older televisions will surely have issues with the dot density of the codes making them impossible to read

We’ve seen ScanLife 2D codes being used here in both the National Post and Metro newspapers in the past few years to link to additional content on the mobile web. I can see how TV news outlets would be eager to use it for the same purpose. I’m looking forward to seeing QR Codes being used more, and to see additional bridges between content mediums including audio triggers as used in the IntoNow iPhone app.

Photo by renaissancechambara

Charlie Sheen, Winning… or Losing on the Web?

Charlie Sheen on Twitter and UStreamBooze and drug-fueled Las Vegas weekends with porn stars, emergency hospital stays, bizarre rambling interviews filled with outrageous quotes – and that’s just in the first few months of 2011. Charlie Sheen has been a very busy boy recently, and now he’s moving his one man show the social media world.

Last week Charlie signed up to Twitter, amassing over a million followers in just over 24 hours, and has almost 2 million as of just a few minutes ago. He’s managed an unheard of Klout score of 91, more than such up-and-comers Ellen, Oprah, Ashton Kurcher and even some guy called Barack Obama. This brings up a whole other question about what ‘real’ influence is, which I’ll get into in a future post. For now I’ll link you to Saul Colt’s latest post “If Charlie Sheen told you to jump out a window: A lesson in Influence“.

On Saturday night Charlie went live on UStream with Sheen’s Corner, a loose, rambling 50 minute ‘show’ featuring Charlie, his buddies and unfortunately just one goddess riffing on a slew or random subjects. The show attracted more than 100,000 viewers at one point, which surely included legions of the curious seeing as how the numbers dropped throughout the 50 minutes to as little as 30,000 at the halfway point.

So, why are so many of us interested. Why are so many people following him on Twitter or bothering to tune in and watch a streamed, unrehearsed Charlie Sheen chat show? The folks over at Psychology-Advice.net theorize that our attraction is a form of Introjective Identification.

Introjective Identification is the psychological process of taking someone into our being and experiencing that as if we were them. It is usually done with regard to positive figures from Jesus Christ to God to role models, but it can also be done with regard to very negative and self-destructive people like Charlie Sheen, Lindsay Lohan and others.

And on the internet we get a minute-by-minute close-up view. Its all Charlie, all the time. What began a few weeks ago as the climax of another Hollywood flame-out has turned into an interesting study of how to go directly to your fans through social media. While other transgressing celebrities are quickly hidden in a shroud of carefully constructed PR moves of tearful apologies and rehab vacations, we are seeing none of that in this case. Maybe it’s partially because his publicist Stan Rosenfield quit at the beginning of last week.

However this all turns out – and I do hope it doesn’t turn out tragically – fact is, I’ve watched more of Sheen’s Korner (in all of its awkwardess) in one night than I’ve ever watched Two and a Half Men.

In coming out directly to the world through social media platforms like Twitter and UStream as his ‘crazy-ass’ self, is Charlie winning the PR battle with social media?

Is Your iPhone Listening to What You’re Watching?

IntoNow iPhone AppIf you’re a fan of Snooki and The Situation you’ll want to check out MTV’s new campaign for Jersey Shore. You can earn a chance to win a trip to the Season 4 Premiere party by checking into the 6 remaining episodes in Season 3 using the iPhone app IntoNow.

IntoNow, which works much like the song identifying app Shazam, can identify 2.6 million broadcast airings using its patented platform Soundprint. Soundprint analyzes the audio coming from your televsion in 3-second increments creating an audio fingerprint.

The fingerprint is then compared to their reference set made up of 130 channels of live broadcasting going back 5 years. The system then returns the metadata that goes with the show, including title, cast and links to IMDB. With a tap the show can be added to your Netflix queue or shared on your Twitter or Facebook profile.

Other sites such as Miso and GetGlue are built on check-ins, rewards and sharing, but the convenient part of IntoNow is the Soundprint feature identifying the exact episode of a series.

Unfortunately for us here in Canada, the IntoNow app is only available in the US iTunes store.