WSJ Wrap Rapped

Per Ad Age:

The [Wall Street] Journal is running an advertiser’s cover wrap on Thursday for the first time in its history, covering one-third of the front page and all of the back with an ad for Dell. Cover wraps are common among New York City’s Post and Daily News tabloids; just Tuesday, the Daily News distributed copies free to commuters wrapped in ads for the new “Tomb Raider” video game. But The Journal has traditionally declined to obscure its front page with overlaid ads.

Here’s how one Kicker reader and Journal subscriber reviewed today’s “obscured”-front-page Journal:

WSJ sucked today—they took the two column summary that they normally have on the front page and had it on its own page with the Dell ad on the back. The 2 columns only folded 2 columns in so if you wanted to open the paper to an interior page, your fingers had no way of holding the front page—totally lame. I threw it away immediately.

So, while Dell-friendly (and, presumably, Journal ad revenue-friendly), perhaps not so reader-friendly. (Any Journal subscribers have a different experience?)

What if, instead of Dell, a well-funded organization with a particular, controversial agenda wanted to similarly “obscure” the Journal’s front page? Would the Journal take those ad dollars? (Why not revisit our recent News Meeting discussion over newspapers and envelope-pushing —in content or placement or both— ads.)

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Liz Cox Barrett is a writer at CJR.