WSJ Print Advertising Touts WSJ-Produced Native Advertising

From the Russian Nesting Ads desk at Sneak Adtack

This week the Wall Street Journal started running tag-team ads in its print edition that direct readers to digital ads created by the paper’s in-house native advertising shop.

This quarter-page ad, for example, ran on Tuesday.



Visit and you arrive here:



At the top, in the center, in small type so light you barely notice it, is this: “Paid Post – What’s This?” Click on the latter and you get a sort of explanation.


Right – it was created by WSJ.Custom Studios, which describes itself as “an in-house content agency packed with experienced editors, journalists, designers, web developers and project managers.”

In other words, it’s shadow journalism.

But weird shadow journalism. Just check out the headers.

Maximizing the Human Experience. The Evolution of Omnichannel Retail. Anchors of Good. The Recurring Gift. Time Well Spent. And etc.

It’s not until you hit the very bottom of the website that you discover who paid for it: The International Council of Shopping Centers.

Nowhere, however, does the ad indicate that ICSC might be whistling past the graveyard.

Take, for starters, this Axios piece about The Retail Implosion.

Big Retail is coming off its worst year since the financial crash and there will be more bloodletting: 50 retailers declared bankruptcy in 2017, and next year looks worse.

Fitch [Group] forecasts $7 billion in retail defaults in 2018, 23% higher than the $5.7 billion this year. That is stunning, as retail accounted for a whopping 30% of all 2017 defaults.

Fitch lists these retailers, among others, as most in danger — Sears, Neiman Marcus, J Crew, Talbots, Lands’ End and Cole Haan.

Add to that, this passage from Scott Galloway’s The Four: “Forty-four percent of the value of U.S. malls is in just a hundred places, and sales per square foot dropped 24 percent in the last decade.”


But back to the Wall Street Journal nesting ads.

There’s nothing especially new about this double-barreled advertising approach (the New York Times has been doing it for several years now) and there’s nothing especially wrong about it.

We just thought you’d want to keep up with State of the Cuisinart Marketing.

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