Ski Utah Does a Faceplant

Ski Utah is the marketing firm owned and operated by the 13 statewide ski resorts thatimage: Utah Ski QR Code make up the Utah Ski and Snowboard Association. Their most recent campaign tagged, The Utah White Sale, promotes “..big savings on lodging, rentals, and lift tickets..”. As part of the campaign, Ski Utah, threw down for a two-page spread in SKI magazine.  With this ad they prominently display a QR code with the copy, “Use the QR code or visit to check out all the amazing deals!”

I happen to know what to do with a QR code so I pull up NeoReader on my HTC Hero and scan the code, which worked perfectly and I’m asked to confirm that I want to visit the resulting URL. Sure I do!

Waiting, waiting. The site takes awhile to load but load it does and I’m looking at the top left corder of what appears to be a full, image-rich web page. I see approximately 10% of the page. Yikes!  Dragging the pageimage: Utah Ski from Mobile Device right and left trying to see what’s on it is disorienting so I use the multi-touch feature on my phone and zoom out so the site fits the screen. The problem now is, I can’t read the text.  (The image on the right is full-size.)


I do notice a graphic in the bottom left that says, “Ski Utah Mobile Apps”. Bingo! I tap the phone image and the site tries to open another browser window but I get an error that says I have too many windows open (there are 4) and I can’t get to the page. Apparently the content-rich pages have eaten up all the browser memory. Sigh.


What could have saved this campaign?
Ski Utah had a couple of options here but both start with providing the reader directions on how to use a reader to scan the QR code. These codes are still new to most people. Then:

  1. They could have made a version of the promotional page that was optimized for mobile viewing by reducing imagery, increasing font sizes and removing the Flash elements. This would, of course, involve device detection, which the site doesn’t appear to do, or
  2. The QR code could have taken me directly to their mobile site at (I know, they actually have a mobile site but instead the QR code takes me to the regular site.)

About Kelly McIvor

Kelly McIvor is an 18 year veteran of mobile and is currently Principal at Atomic Mobile and professor (adjunct) at the University of Washington Graduate School of Communications where he teaches a popular courses on Mobile Media and Marketing in the Masters of Communications in Digital Media (MCDM) program. Kelly holds a BA in Business from the University of Washington.
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