Bass Pro Shops Mobile Campaign Baits But Fails to Hook


I came across this sign at a Bass Pro Shops store and it immediately captured my attention. It was creative, humorous and perfectly placed at eye level at the entry way of a cashier’s line. Its location ensured good exposure to all customers, those buying and those waiting in line to pay. It couldn’t be missed!

Why should I sign up?

Even though the call-to-action didn’t offer an instantaneous reward for joining, I thought the ad was good enough to help increase their database of mobile and email subscribers. The word “alerts” may communicate “deals, offers or something special” to some customers, so it could work even though a clear incentive for signing up was not expressed. A better idea would have been to offer an immediate 10% off purchase. This kind of incentive is likely to increase signups especially in an area where customers waiting to pay are thinking about the cost of their purchases.

I’m confused

Putting the incentive issue aside, the call to action to join by texting BASSPRO (keyword) to the short code was pretty good. Even though I think scanning a QR is a cumbersome and embarrassing process, I did scan the QR to check out the site.

The sign says one thing but the QR code does another?

I was expecting that by scanning the QR code, it would open my text (SMS) application and show the keyword in the message field and the short code number in the send-to field, ready for opt-in. To my surprise, the QR code took me to a mobile website that asked for my email to subscribe. I was confused. If the sign said to sign up for mobile AND email alerts, how was I supposed to get mobile text alerts if the QR code landing page only asked me for my email?

Keep it simple or you’ll confuse the customer

This is the kind of misused opportunity that happens when you mix your mobile channels. Bass Pro Shops is telling the customer one thing, “sign up for mobile AND email alerts,” but the channels (QR and SMS) are leading in two separate directions. The QR is for email sign up and the text is for the mobile alerts. Unfortunately that was not explained. It was not obvious in the ad and was confusing for the consumer to decipher.

Make your call-to action crystal clear

What Bass Pro Shops should do is first get rid of the QR code and just offer one simple call to action “Text BASSPRO to 43902” to join our mobile AND email lists.

The customer would text the word and get a confirmation of opt-in to the mobile alerts program along with a link to the email signup landing page. If Bass Pro Shops wanted to offer email or mobile signup separately, the ad needed to clarify that. It could say “To receive our text message alerts, text the word BASSPRO to the number 43902” or “To receive our email alerts, scan the QR code or visit this website address.” Adding the website address under the QR code is always a good idea. It gives the customer a preview of what to expect from the scan and if the customer doesn’t have a QR scanner app or doesn’t know how to scan, he can always type in the web address on their smartphone.

Lesson: Test all of your ads in real life

It’s important for marketers to always test their call-to-action display ads in their real environment. This helps them understand what the interaction is like between the ad and the consumer in the real world. Have you come across any examples good ads that don’t work in real life? The billboard phone number that is too small to read? Tell us in a comment below.

Wheat Thins Text-to-Win Makes It Dead Easy to Enter the Sweepstakes

Wheat Thins, those adorable wheat crackers are giving away 5 flatscreen TV’s just in time for college basketball’s NCAA March Madness. What is truly mad about this sweepstakes is how easy it is to submit your entry. Want to win a TV? Just send a text message with the word WHEATTHINS to the phone number 63065 (short code) and you are in. No from to fill out. Not even a website form asking for additional information. Just send a text message. This text-to-win sweepstakes entry process will undoubtedly result in far more participants than any other means of sweepstake entry submissions. True to its strategic approach Mondelez (parent company of Nabisco) is going ahead and dedicating more of its budget to mobile. Mondelez is taking the lead in mobile and will reap the benefits of obtaining permission to communicate with their customers and on most the important screen…their mobile phone.

KFC Uses Text (SMS) To Make Sweepstakes Entry a Breeze

KFC’s and Dr. Pepper’s “From Medium to Larger than Life” sweepstakes offers participants a chance to win a trip to the Academy of Country Music Awards. What makes this sweepstake truly remarkable is not the prize but how easy it is to enter. All participants have to do is just send a text with the code found on the soda cup to a short code and that’s it! You’re in!

What I like most of all is that it’s tied to a purchase. In order to get the code you must buy a soda and no one at KFC just buys a soda. The purchase usually includes a meal. A one-two punch. You can also go the mobile site and enter for free with no purchase but you have to register and fill out the form which is tedious and not as easy as sending a text-to-enter. KFC’s done a good job at properly using mobile to increase to sweepstakes participants. Through the sweepstakes, KFC will build database of mobile subscriber that they will use to send offers and coupons via text message. Well done! (pun intended)

Disney’s Fantasyland Sweepstakes Pays Lip Service to Mobile

Disney Stores’ new sweepstakes offers a vacation getaway for 5 days/4 nights to the New Fantasyland® at Walt Disney World® Resort. Nice! Fantasyland is the biggest expansion in Magic Kingdom® Park history.

Daytime Phone = Mobile Phone?

Disney does a great job of setting up a simple mobile website to promote the sweepstakes and offer a mobile form for entry. What I found particularly interesting is that Disney doesn’t ask for a mobile phone number as part of the entry. It’s a mobile site, right? And you’d think the customer must be mobile savvy? Instead they ask for a “Daytime Phone.” Not “Home Phone” or “Office Phone,” but daytime phone. In this mobile age, what is your daytime phone? Home phone? Work phone? Or is it an indirect way of asking for your mobile number? If so, why not just ask for the mobile phone? After all, if you enter the sweepstakes and win, wouldn’t you like to be informed right away?

Is Disney’s Mobile Marketing on Auto-Pilot?

If they’re on auto-pilot and creating a mobile site with a standard form are part of the process, then what else are they missing? It makes you wonder if Disney marketers are making good use of the database of mobile numbers they can get or if they’re avoiding having to create a new campaign for mobile marketing. Why set up a mobile sweepstakes site, if mobile marketing isn’t part of the plan? Are marketers just paying lip service to mobile? Or is it a missed opportunity to capture the most important number in a customer’s life?

What do you think? Comment below.

Using QR Codes for Sweepstakes Entry: Easy for Marketers, but Hard for Consumers!

That’s me at a Sedano’s Supermarket trying to scan a QR code from a Coca Cola display. Although the QR code image in the display seems prominent, I’m on my tippy toes. It seems to be the only way to scan the code and a few people around me were staring.

Here I’m trying to enter the Nature’s Own “Big Green Giveaway” for a ceramic grill. I’m squatting and pointing and waiting for the QR reader to decipher the code. This process takes about 30 seconds and it’s embarrassing to squat there waiting for it to take me to a page with an entry from.

And the same exercise is happing here for the Florida’s Lottery sweepstakes.

All of these companies want you to use your mobile device to enter or at least start the entry process and that, in theory, is a great idea. At this point more than half of the US population has smartphones, which are capable of scanning QR codes.

Capable of scanning a QR code does not mean functional

Where these companies fail is in the integration of mobile into the real world of the consumer shopping experience. As you can see, scanning these codes require first a smartphone, then a QR code app to decode the QR code, along with the muscle flexibility and willingness to embarrass yourself in public for the sake of a QR scan.

They are spending lots of money designing, printing and placing ads for the sweepstakes without realizing that the real world experience of scanning a QR code from a display is pretty awful. And worst of all, none of the ads have a website address so if I can’t squat or scan, I can’t enter the sweepstakes online either.

Easy for marketers, but what about consumers?

Part of the problem lies in the nature of QR codes. Since QR codes are free to make and simple to produce, marketers can simply slap a code on the ad, display or package and say, “Now we are doing mobile” and go home satisfied with their work. Failing to see how it plays out in the physical world means they miss out many more entries to the contest.

What about making the QR code easier to scan by placing it in a better, more accessible place? This would help, but in reality displays aren’t always displayed as intended and the consumer still has a few hurdles. They have to first understand what the QR code is and what they’re supposed to do with it, have a QR reader app on their smartphone and finally, be willing and able to scan it in public. When was the last time you scanned a QR code? The average consumer has never scanned a QR code in his life, much less owned a QR reader.

Adoption rate isn’t there yet

But do you know what kind of mobile technology they are very familiar with? You guessed it… text messages. According to Pew Internet, currently 79% of cell phone owners use text. Compare this to 9% of adults in the US who have used a QR code, according to eMarketer. Instead of asking consumers to literally bend, squat, stretch and risk looking like a weirdo, why don’t companies simply ask the consumer to send a text message? Anyone can read and comfortably send a text privately. The system can respond with an entry confirmation or a link to a mobile entry form. Done! Barriers removed for the consumer and more sweepstakes entries for the marketer. Pet Supermarket has it right. Budwesier has it right as well.

The beauty of text

The beauty of using text for a sweepstakes entry is that it makes the process simple, fast and a lot more fun. Each mobile phone number is unique and serves as the identifier for the winner. Plus text entries come with an awesome benefit for marketers. They capture the most important number in a customer’s life… their mobile phone. Texting in a sweepstakes entry is the fastest and most effective way to open the door to communicating with the mobile consumer. With permission granted, the company can now directly reach that consumer with additional products or relevant offers and, more importantly, to notify them if they win.

PS: To be fair to Sedano’s Supermarkets and Coca Cola, the contest rules’ fine print on the boxes says you can scan, visit a URL or text in your entry. But consumers shouldn’t have to squint their eyes and read the fine print to see this.

Do you scan QR codes? Tell us in a comment below.