Pottery Barn and the QR Code: Great Idea, Execution FAIL

Pottery Barn and the QR Code: Great Idea, Execution FAIL

While thumbing through the latest Pottery Barn catalog, I saw this page and thought it was a fantastic idea. The layout featured a beautiful leather chair (WANT!) with this QR code that links directly to a video. How cool!


Pottery Barn catalog with QR code

Pottery Barn video failBut wait! Not cool at all. I used Paperlinks, a free QR code scanner for the iPhone to scan the code. Sadly, the link took me to a YouTube video I couldn’t access. And it wasn’t just me; my husband, Jim, couldn’t access it on his Droid either.

It was a great idea that failed in the execution and leads me to wonder if anyone tested it before the catalog went to press.

Probably for the best, though. That video probably would have made me want the chair even more.

Have you seen QR codes used in this way?

2016-06-27T18:29:31+00:00 November 9, 2010|Categories: Blog, Marketing|Tags: , |


  1. Patrick Donnelly November 9, 2010 at 8:11 am - Reply

    Yes, wow – thats a big #fail . When we work with clients we never structure URLs like that for a few reasons.

    1. if something goes wrong its unfixable
    2. we link to content that can be changed at defined intervals or demographics. Makes things a bit more interesting.

    Thank you for sharing, I have never seen this campaign.
    Patrick, QrArts

    • bgs November 9, 2010 at 8:16 am - Reply

      Thanks for your comment –

      Question – how would you structure the URL? This is so new that I suppose we are still figuring out best practices? (At least I am).

  2. Steve Phipps November 9, 2010 at 8:38 am - Reply

    This is interesting. I’ve been researching QR codes & possible applications. What I’m finding is that not all QR codes are created equal & not all smartphones are capable of scanning QR codes (Blackberry’s are especially limited). Ford has done a decent job w/ incorporating QR codes in some of their recent print ads & the codes actually work! Thanks for posting, Beth.

    • bgs November 9, 2010 at 8:43 am - Reply

      The first one I saw “in the wild,” so to speak, was at WordCamp Birmingham. A woman had it on her business card, and the URL went to a well-done landing page that highlighted her services. A good use of the technology that made me curious about it.

      Thanks for your comment!

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