Monday’s Wall Street Journal delivered a rather amazing example of how NOT to promote a product, along with the news and pithy commentary.
Most marketers know that messaging can be maximized if deployed consistently across vehicles. This is apparently more difficult than it seems.
Page A7 of today’s WSJ featured a full-page color ad for €5.99/$7.99 dress shirts, from a manufacturer somewhat oddly named ‘Mosegi & Haberdashery’.
It is important to keep in mind that a full-page color ad carries a price tag of $386,865.98.
A cursory scan of the ad shows a few obvious errors:
- CEO Earl Mosegi’s promise includes: “…will not lose their shirt off there back” (sic)
- Featured product claim: “Women shirt now available”
- Key contact called “Sale Representative”
It gets worse.
- Ad contains a QR code that is inactive
- Ad implies a Facebook page (but no URL) which if you find it, not only doesn’t reference the ad, it features products not remotely like a dress shirt. Seems to be targeted at kids. And it hasn’t been updated since July 2014.
But wait – there’s more!
- The website itself is remarkably incomplete but also quite entertaining.
- Of 8 main tabs, only 3 have content. There is no contact info.
- The all-important ‘ORDER’ page contains just a static image – – there is no ordering mechanism for all the consumers who have seen the ad to take action online!
- The ad shows a minimum order of 12 shirts; the website lists minimum orders of both 100 and 300 shirts. Clearly this is a wholesaler trying a direct consumer appeal.
- Most remarkably, an unfortunate keystroke error removed a key letter from the word ‘shirt’, resulting in an entirely new word, which shows up on the home page as well as every single header.
This brings up a few key questions:
- Is the entity who placed this ad a) the playboy son of a Turkish billionaire setting up shop online? b) an unemployed Russian hacker? c) a Nigerian scammer? or d) a third-grader?
- How does an ad that has a bargain-basement pitch, contains so many obvious errors and leads to an online dead-end, get approved by the Journal’s advertising department? (guess: maybe $387k has something to do with it?)
- Is this our official notification that QR codes are truly dead?
- Does a re-integrator exist?
This is a campaign that seems to have been thrown together with not much thought other than a price point and a photo.
These people really need to get their shirt together.
One thing this ad is excellent at is demonstrating, by omission, some obvious basics of an integrated campaign:
- Start with a compelling message/offer (arguably they are ok here)
- Infuse every element of your marketing mix with the same consistent message, offer and look
- Make it easy for customers to take action
- For crying out loud, have someone who knows the language check for accuracy. (The Armchair MBA is particularly pained at this last point, as its companion business, Peregrine Advisors, specializes in helping clients avoid online gaffes).
The Armchair MBA works hard to scour the globe for stories worthy of your attention. This one fell into our lap.
As the saying goes, better lucky than good.