MMC Blog

Worst Advertising Decision I’ve Seen this Week

I’ve long been a newspaper reader, a habit I likely acquired from my Mom’s reading of the Boca News.

In more recent years as I’ve watched the coverage in my daily delivery of the Atlanta Journal Constitution dwindle to the point of resembling the McPaper (i.e. USAToday), I ultimately made the decision to go to online only and instead adopted the Wall Street Journal as my morning breakfast read. Sure, I could read the WSJ online but that feels like work and there is something leisurely about a morning paper that I’m reluctant to give up.

Obviously, the WSJ covers a different beat that is reflected in their readership and their advertisers. We joke about the number of expensive watch advertisements they squeeze into their Sunday Section (eight on average) and enjoy the fantasy of reviewing the offerings of 7- and 8-figure estate jewelry items.

So, you can imagine my surprise yesterday at the placement of this ad for Skechers.

With celebrity endorsements ranging from Martha Stewart to Snoop Dogg, they’ve certainly upped the visibility of what was a somewhat staid brand. And the perpetual need to remove your shoes to comply with TSA regulations has correspondingly driven up sales of their hands-free slip-in product. While all of these clearly skew to a more mature generation, they are simultaneously attracting younger fans with brands that are endorsed by and appeal to the likes of Kim Kardashian and are worn by my new summer intern.

While it’s possible (and probable) that WSJ readers meet the demographic — based on their age and aptitude for travel — to be in the market for Skechers, I have to question whether this ad creative placement was the right choice for this medium. As a multi-year WSJ reader, I’ve never seen so much flesh in a display ad and I’m not sure this specific product style would appeal to the aforementioned demographic. I can’t decide if the ad sales rep at the WSJ was new, desperate for a sale or possibly accepted this insertion order as part of a multi-media buy and literally ran the wrong creative in the wrong publication (i.e. perhaps this creative was meant for Men’s Health or Rolling Stone?).

The lesson here is to remember your audience and make sure you always align your message with the reader. Full confession: I own several pairs of Skechers (though not the slip-in kind nor the product in this image) but I’m pretty offended by their and the WSJ’s decision to allow this creative to run adjacent the more sedate news in my morning paper.

This post is courtesy of MMC Principal Jennifer Koon.

Recent Posts

Scroll to Top