Franz Kafka’s QR Code

Kafkaesque: (adjective) Complex or illogical in a bizarre, surreal, or nightmarish way.

Some brands just don’t get QR Codes, here is an example.

Weetabix is the second largest manufacturer of breakfast cereals and cereal bars in the UK. This morning I noticed a QR Code on the back of a new cereal box of Alpen (image below), one of their most popular brands of muesli snackbars and breakfast cereals. I nearly dropped the box when I saw the CTA was “Scan the QR Code to see full terms and conditions” for a “50p off” coupon offer. Who reads T&Cs at breakfast?

I just had to know where this prosaic request would take me and guess what? The QR Code resolves to the company’s non-mobile friendly home page (image below). Not only that but after scrolling and pinching around I discover that there is nothing about “terms and conditions”, not even a link.

The nearest thing I can find is a “click here to get your coupon” link and much against my better judgement I give it a tap. This takes me to a page with pictures of various Alpen cereal bars and two more links. I give the elusive “terms and conditions” link a miss and tap “Click here to claim coupon”.

Now I get a form (image below) and because I cannot resist seeing where this journey is taking me I start to complete it. Forms need to be as simple and straightforward as possible, this one isn’t; First Name, Surname, House Number, Postcode, Select Country, Email, Confirm Email and enter a “Special Code”. It tells me that “Your (special) code can be found on the top flap of your muesli pack” so I rip the box open and find a 6 digit code that I enter. Next up is a 7 character captcha, don’t ask why it is there. Now all I have to do is tick a couple of boxes and tap “Claim Coupon”.

What happens next is extraordinary, a message appears “We have noticed that you are using a mobile device or unsupported browser”, this of course is true as I scanned the QR Code with a mobile. I am given the option of entering my email address (again) to receive a link enabling me to print the coupon. Now I am sure that this is a Kafkaesque nightmare and think perhaps the only way to wake up is to do as I am asked.

I enter my email address and receive the email a minute later, it tells me all sorts of things like “Get Your Printer Ready” and “Get Your Computer Ready” and also includes a link. I can print from my mobile using Google Cloud Print but I am sure that the perpetrators of this nightmare will not have allowed for it so I move over to my desktop, find the email and click the link. The link resolves to a page that tells me “You’re moments away from printing your coupon” followed by “Please download and install the Coupon Printer”.

I think I have got further than anyone else is going to go, I am not going to install a coupon printer and I don’t need the coupon – so I stop right there.

Note to Weetabix CEO: Ban using QR Codes company wide until you have employed someone who knows how to use them.

Alpen cereal box with a QR Code
Screenshots of the Weetabix mobile unfriendly website

1 thought on “Franz Kafka’s QR Code”

  1. Whoo hoo! Someone who got as far as I did with this stupid setup… not worth the time in recompensation via some silly coupon! A classic case of grrrrr.


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