QR Codes in June SWA Spirit Magazine

I was on a flight home from a chiropractic conference in Reno this past weekend and I met a nutrition supplements marketer on the flight. During our conversation I mentioned QR Codes and she didn’t know what I was talking about. It reminded me of a time in 2007, when Tony Adam (an SEO marketer) and I were talking to patrons in a bar about Twitter, not one knew what we were referring to.

From a marketing perspective, we often take for granted that people know what we know, but if that were true, everybody would be going to the chiropractor at least once per week (yes, I am chiropractic biased). While in flight, I wanted to show my fellow marketer how QR Codes were being used, so I reached for a June copy of Spirit Magazine (by Southwest Airlines), assuming that there would be at least one example to share.

Fortunately for me, there were examples of QR Codes (in fact there were 11 QR Code including advertisements that I counted) in the 272 page magazine (which is mostly advertising). While the quality is not the greatest, I took photos of each advertisement, so we can look at them together here. I’m sharing them in no particular order.

bmlg music qr codeThis first QR Code appears in a music related advertisement. Notice that nothing is mentioned about the code. Below the QR Code (it’s on the right side) is information about visiting the related website. Shouldn’t that be bigmachinemusic.com instead of big machinemusic.com? Looks like a typo to me.

vacation destinationsNext we have a QR Code appearing in an advertisement for tourism in the Charleston area of South Carolina. Notice that next to the QR Code (on the left) is text that reads “Scan to watch the unforgettable beach vacation that awaits.” At least in this case we’re given a clue as to what that symbol means.

grill 25 beefI like this one, but I can’t remember if this is a steak place or not, by the tagline I’m assuming it is. I love that it says “moblie reservations” in bold, followed by clear directions that read… “Scan this QR code with your smartphone to receive our special gift with your Market Pavilion Hotel, Grill 225 or Pavilion Bar reservation.”

hand crafted vodka qr codeI think this vodka advertisement was the first one seen in the magazine, appearing on one of the first several pages. It almost looks like an ad that was made specifically for those with a QR Code reader. Highlighted in orange is “scan this code” and I like that it’s followed by the question “Don’t have a QR Code Reader?” They are still telling people they want you to browse their site via mobile. Excellent.

howl moon danceThis was the only red QR code (instead of black on white) I spotted in the magazine. It was for a nightclub that apparently has locations in numerous cities across the United States. No mention what the QR code is referring to. I think whoever’s marketing with this ad is missing out.

luggage onlineThis next advertisement was for an online luggage site (notice they even have a special URL) and the QR code includes some information in the upper right-hand corner. It reads “scan here with your mobile phone” which is probably a great model to follow, especially if there’s no other information about the QR code in the advertisement.

nova southeastern university smartphoneSpeaking of no mention of the QR code appearing in advertisements, here’s one that doesn’t mention the code (it’s on the left), but does mention using your SmartPhone. This advertiser obviously thinks you know what they are referring to.

photographyIt may be cool to be artsy (the above ad is for an Art Gallery in Charleston, South Carolina) but I think it’s too early to be running advertisements without explaining what that thing is on the bottom right side of the page ( that’s the QR code). Just my opinion of course.

pig qr codeThis advertisement for the Piggly Wiggly tells you straight out what they’d like you to do. “Scan QR Code to order your very own Pig T-shirt.” I didn’t read that until now, maybe I should have scanned while in flight, so I’d have a shirt of my own.

thriller charlstonThis tourist attraction in Charleston (maybe these were all put out by the same ad agency?) doesn’t mention anything about that QR Code appearing on the left. Maybe it’s not my grandma’s kind of tour boat, but she owns a smart phone, and she likes to buy things for her children and grandchildren. Why blow the chance to reach an expanded audience?

yardhouse qr codeIs that a QR Code on the left? I tried about a dozen times to scan it and it just wouldn’t take. I was convinced that it wasn’t a real code and made mention of it on Twitter, to which YardHouse replied and suggested I use a specific app. Apparently, I’m not the only one to think this wasn’t the best of QR Codes (someone posted a beer coaster image to Flickr). Perhaps this QR Code is only readable in the ScanLife App, which means I won’t be viewing it, especially since all the other codes registered fine using my current QR code reading app. (Note: I love Yard House, nothing against them personally.)

No doubt more businesses are using QR codes in advertising, and I think in-flight magazines are probably one of the best ways this marketing platform can be tested. If you ask me, we’ve got a long way to go before the average consumer knows what that square pixelated box means, an even longer way to go before they start scanning, and even longer still before these marketing efforts begin to convert en masse. Let’s make the path for them as easy an enjoyable as possible.

Who Else Wants CBS to Spinoff Two and a Half Men Without Sheen?

It’s official, on Monday TMZ reported that Charlie Sheen was fired by Warner Bros. Television. A source at Warner Bros. says no decision has been made on whether Two and a Half Men will come back without Charlie Sheen. Tens of millions of dollars are on the table, and CBS/Warner Bros. Executives (and fans too) want a solution.

Everyone is asking… Can CBS spin off 2 1/2 Men without Sheen? I say yes, and here’s how they can do it!

Rock n Roller Venice Chiropractor Los Angeles2 1/2 Men series spin off should be filmed in Venice Beach, California

Alan comes home from work.
Charlie is gone.
Furniture is gone.
There’s a note.
“Moved to Columbia… ”
In desperation, Alan calls his former chiropractic college buddy in (Venice Beach) Los Angeles, California.
Alan finagles a way for him and Jake move from Malibu to Venice Beach, home of weirdos and freaks, hilarity ensues.

WTF?!

Remember, Two and a Half Men was a series about a hedonistic jingle writer’s (Charlie) free-wheeling life coming to an abrupt halt when his chiropractor brother (Alan Harper) and 10-year-old nephew move into his beach-front house in Malibu.

I’ll even share the opening for free… Alan comes home from another dejected day in his mediocre life to discover that the locks on Charlie’s house have been changed. There’s a note from Charlie that reads “Dear Alan, House and furniture sold, have moved to Columbia.”

Alan is suddenly homeless! Being the scheming cheap ass that he is, he has the bright idea to make a collect call to his old chiropractic college roommate, former Hollywood rock and roller, and successful Los Angeles chiropractor, Michael Dorausch.

Dorausch just happens to live in a beach-front home in Venice Beach, a short drive away from Charlies place in Malibu. Venice California, the city of weirdos and freaks (Lindsey Lohan lives here), welcomes it’s newest resident.

Winning!

What Social Media Gurus Do Not Want You To Know

If you don’t have a Facebook page your local small business will surely go under. If you’re not buying PPC AdWords, you’re bound to fail online. If your website doesn’t rank number one in your niche for local search, you may as well close up shop. These are the types of things I hear from social media marketing and seo gurus day in and day out.

Is It True?

There is a diner restaurant in the same mini mall center as my Los Angeles chiropractic office. They are open for breakfast, lunch and dinner seven days a week. It is a family owned business (one of two locations) that was started in mid-2001. Certainly a time when businesses already had website, but it wasn’t necessarily the most popular thing for local businesses to do. During lunch hours and especially on weekends, good luck trying to find a parking space anywhere nearby, the lot is packed, and so is the restaurant.

For breakfast and for lunch (hours the place is best known for) the restaurant appears to always be bustling with clientele. The weekends even more so, with lines of people piled out the door, waiting for a table so they can get full on massive bacon avocado omelettes, homemade salsa, and pancakes that are almost the size of manhole covers.

Do we have a team of social media gurus to thank for all the restaurants success? Was it their highly optimized and localized restaurant website? Is that their Facebook page, their LivingSocial, or Groupon online coupons that are driving masses to their business?

The Words Don't Fit the Picture

Being someone who has a bit of interest in local search, social media, seo, and even running a small business, I find places like Ronnie’s Diner fascinating. They do have a website, which looks inspired directly by Café Meaty Yummers. The address is an image file, and the menu is offered in PDF.

Aside from the site, there are no Web promotions, no online coupons, no discount meals, no Facebook pages, no twitter accounts, no Foursquare specials, and no personal Ronnie’s blog with posts about how he regularly puts his back out stuffing all that cash into his mattress every week.

It’s not that the owner is not interested in search and social media, he may very well be. We’ve had a conversation or two in the past on the topic, and left it at that.

What’s His Secret? Serve good food and listen to your customers.

I go to the chiropractor (hard to believe eh?) and guess what? My chiropractor doesn’t have a website, a Facebook page, a twitter profile, a blog or anything else online that talks about his business (other than the times I’ve mentioned him in the past). He does have an e-mail address, it’s an AOL account.

When I go to see him, do you think he’s sitting behind his doctor’s desk just waiting to get me adjusted? He’s not, because he’s crazy busy adjusting other patients. The guy sees more than 400 patient visits per week on average (for you non-chiropractors, that’s about four times the weekly average most chiropractors are seeing), and he’s only the second best chiropractor in Los Angeles.

So what is his secret? He’s great at what he does, provides good service, keeps his fees affordable, and asks all his existing clientele for referrals. Did you get that? Like clockwork, he asks every single person that comes to his office, to refer someone else. He tells them he would appreciate the opportunity to help them be healthier.

He doesn’t buy PPC advertising (I don’t think he even knows what it is), he doesn’t buy Facebook ads, he doesn’t participate in any online coupon specials (he doesn’t even participate in any off-line coupon specials). He simply goes to work each and every day (Monday through Saturday for about 26 hours total) and provides chiropractic adjustments to all those that want them. Think his model will be crushed by social media?

My Mother Was Right

Years ago my mom ran one of the most successful catering operations on all of Long Island, she has since retired but the principles that made her successful in business still apply today. As a caterer in New York, she organized parties, gatherings and weddings, for mayors, governors, presidential candidates, celebrities and even large Italian families. Ever watch someone put on a party for 10,000 people? She was an absolute master in the philosophy, science, and art of what she did. I grew up in the surroundings of her catering and food industry world of New York and that’s where I first learned about service.

How do you turn a group of a one 100 hungry people, who are waiting 45 minutes for a table, into raving fanatics? Four words.

Drinks on the House

Walk into the kitchen on any given night and you may had mistaken her for a military drill sergeant. Witness her out on the restaurant floor and she was loving people up. There was so much emphasis on service, it would drive the average employed person into hysterics. Trust me, I spent many hours in those kitchens, and if a drop of au jus sauce was dripped on the plate where it shouldn’t be, that plate wasn’t going out of the kitchen. Food was served hot, it was served in an organized fashion, and the place ran like it was a thing of magic.

Growing up in that environment, I experienced hundreds upon hundreds of thousands of smiles. Happy wedding goers, successful bar mitzvahs, presidential campaign galas, you name it, I worked them. And it all came down to one thing.

Service

As a chiropractor, when I say I serve God by Serving Mankind, I mean it. Yes, I have the convenience of social media and seo to help me better communicate with my clientele, but when it really comes down to providing them the very best, it’s a hands-on job. No amount of Internet marketing is going to replace the skills I’ve developed in my 16 years of chiropractic.

Service is a Hands-On Job

Will social media grow your business? No argument from me there. Does a successful social media campaign equal success in business? Does the number of Facebook friends or twitter followers determine whether you’re going to be able to put your kids through college?

It doesn’t matter whether you run a restaurant, flower shop, chiropractic office, bed and breakfast, or casino. Unless you’re employed at the Mustang Ranch in Reno Nevada, never forget the first rule of business.

Don’t Suck

Make Money Writing Short Paragraphs

In case you thought content farms and work at home writing jobs were something new, here’s an ad clipping from a 1965 women’s magazine…

Make-Money-WritingMake Money Writing ..short paragraphs!

The advertisement reads… You don’t have to be a trained author to make money writing. Hundreds now making money every day on short paragraphs. I tell you what to write, where and how to sell; and supply big list of editors who buy from beginners. Lots of small checks in a hurry bring cash that adds up quickly. No tedious study. Right to sell, right away. Send for free facts.

Do I Have

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Do I Have

LOL, these are too funny, or sad, depending on how you look at it.