I saw an ad in the San Francisco airport last week (photos below) and it was perfectly placed. I was waiting to get on the plane, looked over and saw the advertisement and I read it. Being curious about the unusual QR code I saw and curious if my code scanner would be able to read it, I tried. It didn’t work. There was a link to where I could get the reader so I could scan the code on the ad. Huh? Was Microsoft trying to sell me on cloud services or a code scanner? A friend in line told me that the code on the advertisement was actually Microsoft’s technology. So the answer to my question about what Microsoft is trying to sell me is “both.” Ok, but what if you’re just a brand trying to get customers to take action regarding your product or service? Does it benefit you to distract them from your messaging to download a new technology so they can communicate with you?
Whoever executed this campaign for Microsoft did something very smart: They added a text messaging call to action with a keyword and short code. Why? Because they wanted to make the mobile extension of their campaign available to everyone with a mobile phone. 99% of all mobile phones are text messaging enabled. Those that aren’t most definitely cannot scan a QR code.