Is The Wall Street ...


The Wall Street Journal recently kicked off an advertising campaign.

An anchor ad caught my attention, which you can see below (note we took liberties with the typeface to improve legibility of the scan).

Wall Street Journal ad

View a larger version here.

Notice anything about the body copy?

There’s no mention of the “B” word.

Maybe they expect the reader to conclude that The Wall Street Journal means business because the photo depicts a guy in a suit reading the paper. (BTW, what kind of business person stands on a sidewalk, leans against a wall and enjoys a “relaxing” perusal of a newspaper?)

But there’s nary a mention of business in the body copy.

Instead, the ad makes a pitch for the paper’s analysis and fresh perspectives that “enable you to make the right choices for your”:

* Family

* Career

* Life

Let’s take these one at a time.

Family encapsulates aspects ranging from buying a home to making sure junior gets into the right college.

I associate career with one’s personal ambition.

And I would say life covers enjoyment and health as the two macro umbrellas.

Step back for a moment and consider the process behind developing and writing this ad.

I guarantee the paper’s management team was involved every step of the way in scrutinizing, debating and finally deciding on the final words. Given Mr. Murdoch’s hands-on approach, it’s within the realm of possibilities that he played copywriter for a day.

The point is, reverse-engineering the ad offers a glimpse into the future of The Journal.

Clearly, the entertainment quotient in the paper will continue to be dialed up as it strives to appeal to a broader audience than the pre-Murdoch product. It’s not a coincidence that the Journal ad inserted into this post was taken from Sports Illustrated.


  • Sam Whitmore

    Nice catch, Lou!

    News Corp. sees Dow Jones and Fox Business Network as its business vehicles. It sees the WSJ as the slayer of the New York Times. Murdoch can’t afford to brand WSJ as a business newspaper. That’s for Sulzberger to do.

  • Lou Hoffman


    It didn’t occur to me to consider the Murdoch “team” dynamics at work.

    Still think it’s weird for an ad promoting the Journal to not even mention the word “business.”

    I spoke to Bill Bulkeley before he was laid off at the end of the year and he mentioned the paper’s increasing use of visuals for a more vertical and friendly layout.

    Found another post on the topic on Business Insider at


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