Monday, February 05, 2007

Alice Waters WSJ ad: Not particularly fresh or sustainable

Alice Waters' appearance in an advertisement for the Wall Street Journal newspaper -- blogged about previously -- is now running and is available online, complete with video.

Though no doubt lucrative for Waters' Edible Schoolyard project and/or Waters herself, the advertisement does basically nothing to promote the WSJ as a brand and is thus baffling.

Not once is any effort made to show how the WSJ helped Waters, not in the print ad summarizing Waters' life in a few bullet points or in the video shallowly retreading what she stands for.

Nor are any of the WSJ advertisements particularly informative or enlightening on Waters' life.

The WSJ advertising website doesn't even have the basic sense to reprint any actual WSJ articles about her, by way of providing prospective readers a sense of the high standards and sharp writing of the newspaper.

If anything, the ads tarnish the WSJ brand. The advertisement designers do such a poor job of painting a picture of Waters, in the midst of their effort to to rub the WSJ flag up against her and what she stands for, that they actually create the impression that the WSJ does not actually know how to tell a story, or to profile someone intrinsically interesting, and is thus a poor choice as a newspaper.

This ad campaign is actually worse than nothing, based on the Waters ad. It actually does harm to the WSJ.

I still consider the WSJ the very best newspaper in this country, a hugely compelling read; more tightly written, reported and fact checked than the New York Times; and better positioned against other media, their traditional "second day" in-depth analysis stories offering the sort of color and context that illuminate how newspapers can thrive against other, faster media.

Which is why it is so infuriating to see this ad campaign botched so badly. At a time of dwindling attention spans and declining newspaper fortunes, a paper like the WSJ needs good marketing more than ever.

Oh well.


connie said...

hey! alice isn't wearing her hat! and where's the straw basket? wtf??!!

February 06, 2007 9:23 PM  
Ryan said...

She must feel naked -- they must have paid her a lot for such a revealing picture ;->

February 09, 2007 4:20 PM  
Ryan said...

PS Connie, you should put a link to Muffintop in your Blogger profile somewhere --

February 09, 2007 4:22 PM  

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