July 1, 2015

Oops! Heinz QR Code Links To Porn Site

qr-codeAnother good lesson on why you need to carefully think through all aspects of your marketing lest you start sending your customers to a porn site.  Yep, it can happen!

Apparently, according to news reports from Germany, a man recently scanned a QR code on a bottle of Heinz ketchup that he had and it took him to a porn site.  As the company has explained, what happened was that the QR code was tied to a campaign that had been run a few years ago and once that campaign was over, they let the domain registration lapse.  A porn company came in and grabbed the domain and started posting porn to it.

Which is a good reminder to think about the longevity that your product may have with consumers especially as you think through various marketing campaigns.  Heinz should have considered the fact that ketchup is not necessarily an everyday item for consumers and it’s quite possible for consumers to have an older bottle or two sitting in their panty or fridge.

To round out the story, the consumer who was originally sent to the porn site utilized the company’s Facebook page to alert them to the problem and call them out on the issue.  As such, thanks to the power of social media, the story was quickly shared on social media and picked up by news organizations.

While you may not be as big as Heinz, as you think through the various marketing tools you’re going to be using for your business – be they QR codes, social media, traditional advertising, etc – remember that there are pros and cons to each and you need to strategically think through how any one marketing idea or campaign is going to interrelate to your other marketing channels.

But, if nothing else, just be sure to remember that if you’re going to use QR codes to drive consumers to specific landing pages, you may want to hold onto that domain registration for a few years just to be safe!

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