Washington Redskins QR Code Fail

The Washington Redskins may be three time winners of the Super Bowl but their QR Code implementation on Facebook is a big fail. The image reproduced below can be found above the fold on the left-hand side of their official Facebook pages (screenshot opens in new window). Here is what is wrong with it:

  • The QR Code requires a proprietary reader. This means everyone scanning the code with a conventional reader will find that it resolves to meaningless text “m:KYblfxkmr”.
  • There is no clickable link to download the reader.
  • Users who bother to key in the url to obtain the reader will find that it will only work on the iPhone and iPod touch and requires iOS 4.0 or later.
  • There is no call to action.
  • There is no indication of what the user will find when they eventually get to the destination.
  • There is no destination url available for those without smartphones.

How is it that big brands like this get suckered in to such poor implementations of QR Codes?

Washington Redskins QR Code

8 thoughts on “Washington Redskins QR Code Fail”

  1. Easy. Chances are good that it was strictly a business decision that was never brought up to anyone with a base knowledge of how technology works. I’ve unfortunately been privy to similar decisions in other companies. If WRS follows the same path their suits will blame the code idea as being a failure instead of their own inability to understand and use the code properly.

  2. Add to the list of issues:

    – Even if you’ve got the software and successfully scan with what is a very poor app, you’re asked to register before being allowed to go to the destination site.

    @Crow: Precisely right; tech decisions being made by people who have never used the tech.

    Proprietization of QR simply isn’t going to work, it’s only going to retard adoption by annoying consumers and bean-counters alike.

  3. It is really sad to see such blunders. I see it here in Europe as well. Great campaigns with poor to no backend for mobile devices. I ask myself why they even bother.

  4. I think the interesting thing is…

    “IF” I never would have never seen a qr code before, this would have worked out perfectly. ( I think ?)

    In other words, are we mad because we are not following directions?

    Just another viewpoint. And, now I have some fuel to go talk to the Redskins this month. 🙂

  5. Patrick: I’m not so sure about that. First of all, the limit to ios 4.0 means that it’s off limits to a lot of people. Also, having to download a separate application kind of defeats the purpose, doesn’t it?

  6. @Jake well given that the idea is to pay for something (mobio is used to do things like pay restaurant bills) I am not sure what you would expect it to do without an application.

    The issue here is that there is a gap between what some people expect a QR Code to be (a web page shortcut) and what some companies are using them for (a data identifier for their program).

  7. All too often it seems that the lure of quick and easy wins out for larger organizations who are accustomed to overspending for web projects. The lure of Mobio here could have been a perceived barrier to entry on the development end, but they could have done the same thing using open source codes that would be read by more apps.

    Website magazine uses proprietary codes, and I believe the last issue of SI Swimsuit had proprietary codes in it as well.

  8. D’Arcy: Sure, but as far as I know, in this instance it’s not being used to pay for something. It is, in fact, leading to a website. So even though Mobio may be appropriate for other occasions, it’s not appropriate here.

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