Borgata Poker…You’re Doing It WRONG!

This one broke my heart – in more than one way. So any of you who know me know Im a poker player. I have the attention span of an unmedicated 3 year old with ADHD after drinking four red bulls, yet i can spend countless hours at a poker table drinking bad beer and studying every nuance of the 9 overweight and bacterially unsound fellows at my table. I don’t know why actually, i just fell in love with the game when i was young, playing for pennies with my mother and grandfather. Living close to Atlantic City and Upper CT, i have poker player cards to virtually all AC casinos as well as Mohegan Sun and Foxwoods, and receive trees worth of mailings from them each year.

The other day i received a nice glossy piece from Borgata, advertising their 2,500 buy in no-limit hold ’em event. To my surprise, i saw a QR code on it! Now they’ve used texting for a while (as have Foxwoods and some others), but this was the first QR code i’ve seen – peep it!

So, all giddy i grabbed my iPhone and scanned it. After scanning it i just laughed out loud…the Borgata, the epicenter of poker in NJ and one of the classiest and most luxorious casinos on the east coast – with one of the best websites and some of the greatest marketing around…WAS DOING IT WRONG. Here is the result of my scan:

Their QR code was supposed to set up an SMS, yet on the iPhone it was an epic fail…apparently their agency didn’t realize that iPhone doesn’t support that SMSTO syntax. I dont know if it wasn’t tested, or if their agency just doesn’t care, but on that day the Borgata dropped about 10 points in my mind. They’re now a notch below Trump Marina, and just edging out Resorts in terms of lameness.

This sort of thing is unacceptable. We just deployed a campaign for a major (MAJOR) brand, and they wanted a QR to resolve to an SMS. Unlike Borgata’s agency who either doesn’t care about or doesn’t understand mobile user experience, we created a routine that actually worked, instead of throwing some slop against the wall and likely charging far too much for it.

Im thinking they probably sent tens of thousands of this piece out to poker players. Some bean counter probably expected some result, but that bean counter is in for a surprise…not a single iPhone who scanned that can participate. They’re pretty much saying ‘hey you’re our customer, but if you have an iPhone screw you, you can’t use our QR codes.’

Its one thing to do it wrong accidentally, but this is a clear case of negligence, not thinking, not testing, and delivering crap to your client under the guise of pretending you know what you’re doing. A story written by my business partner John Lim called ‘can you trust your geek‘ hits on some of these issues. But the fact is people, your interactive agency is NOT your mobile agency. You can’t be a part-time professional anymore. Its like back in the 1990s when the www was forming. Your print company offered web services. Some companies stayed with them and got an inferior product. Others went with a dedicated interactive agency, and got a better product, more service, more technology and in almost all cases more results.

The old drug slogan, ‘just say no’ is applicable here. When your interactive agency or web design company offers you a mobile service, just say no. Then find a mobile agency (like Mobile Card Cast – shameless plug) who can listen to your objectives and put together a plan to achieve them and even surpass them. Let your print company do your flyers, your web company do your website, and your mobile company implement your mobile campaigns.

As for the Borgata…I still love you guys. Give me a call and let me help you do it right. A free seat in that 2,500 NLH tourney would get you back in my good graces, then we can go from there. But, next time you see the moron who put this together, walk up to him and bitch slap him in the face, and say (with an english accent) “Im mad as hell, and Im not going to take it anymore!!!!”.