"Books, Records, Films -- these things matter. Call me shallow but it's the damn truth." - High Fidelity

February 17, 2012

Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue: Missing QR Codes

a technology company that has never heard of QR codes
DirectTV and SportsIllustrated teamed up this year in a complete denial of QR codes and quite frankly have driven me a little batty.  I don’t understand how two huge companies work together to fail so badly.  I’m just an unemployed geek sitting on the sideline here, but I seriously don’t understand how they have not heard of QR codes.

a sea of useless icons
They put 7 half page ads blocking the view of the girls in this month’s Sports Illustrated Swimsuit issue.  7!  Almost every section was plastered with an ad demanding that I download their application.  (counter intutivie, since I seem to be one of the last sports illustrated print subscribers on earth, for which I was treated to a copy that arrived after it hit the newsstands, so late in fact I had forgotten I subscribed)  None of these ads included a QR code to take me directly to the application, but the problems only start there.
and dream of the invention of the QR code
Their app should essentially be a QR code reader that rewards people for purchasing the magazine and would usher in a new era of interactive catalogs, and perhaps a reason for print magazines to exist.  (and let’s face it.  If you’re a print magazine and you’re still wasting time with email addresses and facebook pages and other nonsense contact information for more information about your authors or articles, you’re living in the past.  There’s no reason there shouldn’t be a QR code on each article to provide a direct link to additional information.)

my god, it's full of menus

Also the videos aren’t broken up by picture.  The whole point of the application they’re describing in their advertisements is to go from the still photo to the video.

our designers are paid by the menu

Instead of having three boring videos (music video, behind the scenes and interview) per model, have about 5-10 based upon the swimsuit they were wearing then link the QR codes directly to that video.  
It’s not rocket science and I don’t know why I have to be the one to point it out, but DirectTV and SportsIllustrated really seem like backwards neanderthals.  I really can’t believe they didn’t know that QR codes existed.  It’s like their entire campaign is just begging for someone to link them to the wikipedia entry aboutQR codes.  I just don’t get it.

this is the only screen they needed, a simple QR code reader:

update:  they claim it has a digital watermark:

This is the second year Nellymoser has worked on the swimsuit issue. Last year, the app used QR codes to launch video, but this year Nellymoser used digital watermark technology from Oregon-based Digimarc to hide pixel patterns, recognizable to computers, in the magazine pages.  “It’s sort of like the next generation of QR codes,” Matus said.

They must have scrapped this part of the campaign.  Because the app I downloaded doesn't have a scanner and these look just like icons....  (which is why you use QR codes, you create a standard that people understand...)

Aparently there are two applications?!?!  The normal swimsuit menu application and the viewer application?? (this is why they needed a QR code directly linking you to download the app, or really just needed one app, why make two?!?!?!)

That's not confusing at all!  and great icon choice!  
I'm sure a lot of people are going to download that one! (haha!)

And again, linking to generic behind the scenes video is not really technology.  The model needs to start out in the exact same pose and angle as the magazine shot.  Then she needs to start moving.  Close ups of the model and the scene.  No photographers with huge full back tattoos.  Just the model and the location.  Doesn't have to be long, but one per model the entire issue, every swimsuit.  Even offer it to the advertisers.  Let them put the symbols on their ads and make them move as long as they are willing to follow the same strict guidelines.  Don't start the videos off with the models name or lame fades to black and white.  Start with the same image, make it move.  Stay in character.  Make it magical or don't bother.

(now that I actually have the correct application it's not that bad.  but one of them does go directly to a close up of the photographer.  Not really sure you understand your audience. And I really don't see why they didn't put one on each page.)   

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