QR Enabled M&S Orange and Mango Juice

Here is Sophie’s Orange and Mango Juice from M&S. It was bought this morning in Brighton.


Looks nice doesn’t it? Then I noticed…


Flip the bottle round and sure enough…


The I remembered I had a QR app on the iPhone so I thought I’d give it a shot. First of all it fetches a URL as you’d expect.


I don’t know about you but the URL http://www.mands.mobi looks really horrible and alien. It took me a few scans to realise that it’s totally legit.

Like me you are probably very very excited about what the Orange and Mango Juice page looks like. Well here you go…


It’s got info about the product. Cool. It’s got an offer. Cool. And there’s a bunch of ‘stuff’ too. I was a bit bothered by the fact that the info wasn’t about the actual product, it was just about generic Orange Juice. But maybe I’m being unfair and anal.

Some of the pages aren’t great – they feel like someone has just dumped some text on a page without very much care and attention. Again the anal me has a problem with the fact that the bullet points aren’t even proper bullet points. It smacks of ‘copy and paste’ to me.


And of course, things like Joke of the Day were never going to be much more than Christmas Cracker fodder…


Overall I was really at a bit of a loss to know what to think.

It’s not bad. I’m glad that M&S are playing with this stuff. And I quite like the fact that they’ve not over-cooked it. It feels like an appropriate level of content for a bottle of juice. Although the fact that it was just for generic Orange juice still bugs me a bit. And it could have been better designed. And the copy could have been more interesting. And ‘joke of the day’ is a bit, meh.

Sophie made a good point. She said that she wouldn’t bother going back after seeing what was on there. And I guess that’s the real point isn’t it? If peoples’ impressions of this QR stuff is that it’s a waste of time, it’s going to be that much harder to get them to do it again. Not just for juice, but for any kind of product.

So on the one hand Marks and Spencer are opening the door for mainstream QR usage, which is great. I just hope that in the same gesture they’re not slamming it shut for us too.

17 thoughts on “QR Enabled M&S Orange and Mango Juice”

  1. I think the problem is that they’re trying to push content to you rather than engage you. It could have been so much more. Stuff like: Tell us what you think of our juice. (And if you liked it…) tweet about how much you loved our juice. Follow us on twitter/facebook etc. Upload a photo of said juice bottle to enter a competition. Loads of stuff.

    Instead, they’re trying to tell you some fairly boring juice facts and a rubbish joke. Rather than a place to come back to, it should be the start of your journey with them.

  2. Sophie made a good point. She said that she wouldn’t bother going back after seeing what was on there. And I guess that’s the real point isn’t it? If peoples’ impressions of this QR stuff is that it’s a waste of time, it’s going to be that much harder to get them to do it again. Not just for juice, but for any kind of product.Sophie made a good point. She said that she wouldn’t bother going back after seeing what was on there. And I guess that’s the real point isn’t it? If peoples’ impressions of this QR stuff is that it’s a waste of time, it’s going to be that much harder to get them to do it again. Not just for juice, but for any kind of product.

    Which is why what this *really* wants to be is Nike+ for groceries…

  3. I did happen to see this on my early morning veryberry juice or whatever it’s called the other day while standing in the queue at London Bridge M&S. But being almost certain that my rubbish phone didn’t have required technology I made a mental note to ask someone about it at work and then nodded off on the bus. And promptly forgot all about it – not least because I suspect life may well be too short and too full of other infinitely more interesting things (like sleep, work, Stieg Larsson novels, Vetiver Cds) to be remotely bothered to investigate further about one’s juice. Personally I think drinking said juice should be the beginning and the end of the consumer journey as far as comestibles are concerned. Unless there’s a genuinely original and interesting story to tell about source of fruit I suppose, but even then….

    Or am I just getting old and tired and cynical as a result of feeling increasingly besieged by things as irrelevant as a small bottle of juice trying to ‘engage’ me?

  4. Matt’s right…

    Why didn’t it celebrate the virtue of drinking a freshly-squeezed juice in the morning? Why doesn’t the coupon reward very specific purchase or consistency of purchases over time?

    The action of scanning the bottle needs to be about updating and adding to store of meaning. The website knows when it was accessed, by who, and potentially where and who-with. This is valuable data for a potential M&S platform that wants to host conversations around premium food on-the-go and after-the-9till5.

    Some people meticiously record what they eat and when — and everybody goes to M&S for a quick nibble. You could build a foodie match.com on a platform like that.

    AdultFoodFinder .com is taken :(

  5. Besides the fact that the content and styling is reminiscent of the first website ever built, the URL is the killer for me. Can’t help but think it’s Peter (Mandy) Mandelson’s first ever mobile site on orange juice.

  6. This post and the comments that follow is probably some of the best market research that M&S and their mobile agency could get from their experiment with mobile tagging. Some brief observations:

    1. URL snobbery: It was a revelation that people on a site called “crackunit.com”, which I guessed before I came here was either about substance abuse or prostitution, care about what URL they are being redirected to. But obviously you do care. Bless.

    2. If you think the M&S mobile site was bad then some of the others you could snap would leave you weeping in the aisles. Mind you I snap this stuff all the time and I couldn’t even get the code to read on my iPhone. So what do I know.

    3. It’s natural that some people want to be engaged and others don’t. Some people read labels and some don’t. Some people like the idea of saving 10% off their next drink and some don’t care. Some people like a smile in the morning and some people like looking like Les Dawson.

    4. I’m not sure about the ‘journey’ idea and adding to my ‘store of meaning’. You’ll be asking to ‘start a conversation’ next. The audience here is bored/busy shoppers/travellers who have the time, technology and inclination to snap a tag before they chuck the bottle away. It might be a little unrealistic to expect these people to be ready for a journey or expecting to deposit a new meaning in their store when they snap the tag. But then if I had to get the 7.05 to Victoria every morning maybe I’d be hoping my morning juice would take me somewhere, anywhere – so perhaps a relaxing video of a Spanish orange grove or maybe a thumping ragga juiceman track would have been a better destination.

    5. I would have been happy just to have snapped the tag and been taken to the wacky world of Alphonso Mangoes – whatever they are and wherever that is.

  7. I liked the joke. But I’ve had a tough morning so…

    But it would have been better to have 10p off your next orange juice (extending the sales loyalty of the 20% etc etc)

  8. I’m a mobile developer so I try everything and anything that has a mobile interaction, and this is pretty damn awful.
    1. The QR codes are not even QR codes, they should have position detection features in 3 of the 4 corners so they can be read correctly.
    2. The mobile site at http://mands.mobi/ftg is lame and doesn’t work on WML devices.
    3. Why use ftg and not go on just http://mands.mobi as there is nothing else on there?

  9. The M&S team read this blog and the many comments (thank you – they were all very helpful) and, based on them, updated the layout and content of our site (as much as we were able) – let us know what you think of the update.

    Some answers for Andrew Burgess:

    We use da datamatrix and not a QR code. Datamatrix codes come up smaller. So we could avoid the corner of the bottle by using the DM as opposed to QR type. (QR ‘wastes’ space with the three corner squares.) Remember, the size of the label and bottle are fixed. The software that the consumers use is able to scan both types, so there is no difference from the user’s point of view.

    We use the ftg extension as we also host other content from time to time on our .mobi url (for example, when we send out our SMS messages for our Dine In for £10 offers we link to a menu hosted on this site).

  10. We love the fact that people are really starting to consider the interaction between the physical and digital worlds. Hats off to M and S .

    We do not use Barcode, Qr Codes etc

    There is now much more secure and better way of delivering this by using digital Watermarking technology and the clic2c App. Digital Watermarking is virtually invisable and covers the whole printed item so no “Quote (QR ‘wastes’ space with the three corner squares.)” , it is alos a proprietry system supplied under license as opposed to open access QR technologies with many diiferent readers and formats so brands can clearly measure the interaction across multiple handset types.

    Very interesting and informed comments Thankyou and exactly what we are expirencing. It is seesntial that whatever is served up is relevant and adds value , if it doeasnt then dont do it!!

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