I Am #4’s QR Code #Fail


Yesterday at the movie theatre, I ran across I Am Number Four’s movie poster and of course, the first thing I saw was the QR code.

Without any instructions.

Without any hint of what’s in it for me.

Could the TEXT call-to-action be a clue? A chance to win?



I scanned. Got a white “Web page not available” page.

I texted. Got a “The GuestAssist service requires a valid keyword. Please check the keyword and try again or visit www.qtags.com for support.”

I gave up.

Today, just to see, I revisited the web page. Still nothing. But when I check it on my computer (vs. mobile) I find out the sweepstakes has ended.


This is the problem with codes that lead to time-sensitive information. There comes a point to where it doesn’t work.

I wonder if it worked even when it worked?

I am #fail.

7 thoughts on “I Am #4’s QR Code #Fail

  1. franz

    #fail indeed, seems like the big hollywood honochs outsourced their QR code campain to a third party service. the QR code resolves to an ugly scn.by URL (see http://miniqr.com/970fe) which i think is some kind of tracking URL, they want to know where people snapped the URL, so all QR codes resolve to a different tracking URL. this tracked URL then redirects to device specific landingpages. after the whole thing was over (the the third party provider delivered their last report to the head honchos) they just “forogt” some redirects to the “it’s over page”.

    simple said: they just do not understand QR codes (and their users)

  2. Mike Cearley Post author

    Thanks Franz. This technical insight is helpful. I think this is a classic case of giving the audience too much credit. It seemed like they treated this campaign like the audience was dialed into what the code was for and how to use it. So much so, that they failed to advertise the promotion associated w/ the QR code at all. And the biggest thing here, in my opinion, is not having back-up content to experience after the promotion ended. It just resolves to a boring blank page, if the consumer even makes it that far. This is just an example of not completely thinking through the QR campaign, which can be a critical oversight with using emerging technologies

  3. Lisa

    Saddest thing: The backup, mobile-friendly “Sorry, promo has expired” page should link viewers to something potentially of value. Lazy? Just link to the movie’s mobile-Facebook page. But at least they’re in good company: 80% of the QR code ads in March 20 2011 NYTimes failed.

  4. Mike Cearley Post author

    Shaking my head, Lisa. It just speaks to the level of thought that people seemingly put into these executions – not enough. Thanks for the comments. :-)

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