Mobile to Up Sales!?

10/19/2010

I came across the November edition of Super Street magazine when I was down at a bookstore looking for a Tissot ad for last week’s blog.

Super Street is an automotive magazine that covers modified street cars. Starting with their November edition, they are including a QR code in every issue. The code takes readers to a website with exclusive content that is not found in the magazine or the Super Street’s official website. The QR site, however, is locked and readers must locate the password in the magazine to access its content.

The password is easy to find, located in the table of contents in the issue I picked up. After entering the password, the QR site reveals a page for each of the few articles in the magazine. Each page contains supplemental information, including editorial and pictures, that is not included in the print version of the magazine.

Unfortunately, the site is not optimized for mobile devices. The pictures are nice, but the writing, captions, and comments are illegible without fiddling with the screen. When the fonts are big enough to read, the pictures no longer fit the tiny mobile screen. It’s really more trouble than it is worth.  *yawn*

The exclusive content would have been infinitely more interesting if viewed on a bigger screen. Instead of linking readers to it with a QR code, I think it makes more sense to put this content in a password access only section on the Super Street official website.

Regardless of the poor execution, it is plausible to increase the sales of a magazine for modified street cars with an exclusive QR site. But I question the effectiveness of this strategy. Of the mobile phone user population in the US, only 19% use a smartphone, which translates to roughly 45 million people. And how many of these 45 million people are modified street cars enthusiasts? I don’t know. But I suspect the guys at Super Street don’t know either.

One Response to “Mobile to Up Sales!?”

  1. Kelly McIvor Says:

    I guess the good news is that the QR part worked, right? I mean, at least there was an experience (vs. the non-experience from REI).

    I think I also understand – to a degree or two at least – why they made you search for the password. Kinda makes you feel more committed once you’re ‘in’.

    The lingering question, though, is, did they try to sell you a subscription? Wasn’t that the strategy behind the mobile site, anyway? If not, what is the real point of the mobile effort?
    K


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