A QRappy QR Campaign?

upton4There’s a certain nervous energy that surrounds QR codes today; the same sense of excitement unencumbered by logic that accompanies many new technologies. It’s the long-sought-after bridge between print and the Web. It makes paper interactive.

It’s been a dud.

Sure, there have been some interesting uses (none spring to mind, but we remember there were some), but nothing that really, you know, made things better. (A point beautifully illustrated by Sabine’s recent Pro Tip.)

We dredge all this up because of a recent print ad for Gillette featuring a scantily clad Kate Upton, a singer/ actress/ model/ token-political-beauty (it’s bound to be one or more of these, not sure which) flashing a come-hither smile. Above her expertly airbrushed hair, a thought balloon containing a QR code. And the words:

How Does Kate Upton Like Her Man’s Body Styled? Read Her Mind.

We’re certain that Ms. Upton is an intelligent person who’s simply learned the fine art of relieving a company of its cash for the privilege of allowing someone to insert QR codes above her head in print. What worries us is the too-clever-by-half ad agency types who came up with this campaign in the first place.


They did everything right. If you snap the QR code with your smartphone, you’re taken to a 30-second YouTube video in which Upton talks about the way men should be groomed. After which, we’re presented with two buttons: “Buy Now” and “Learn How.” The former takes you to a list of places where you can buy the trimmer-razor being promoted, the latter to further information about the device.

Perfect, right? But is it? Who’s so desperate that they would snap a QR code in a magazine to see Kate Upton hawking a razor, but somehow not desperate enough to pull up the hundreds of infinitely more revealing videos of her on YouTube? Just who is this for?

In a phrase, it’s Sabine’s strawberries all over again. (Seriously, read that Pro Tip above.)


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