Brand Overextension: #WSJfail on Facebook

When The Wall Street Journal promoted leaders to oversee their ethics and standards in 2013, managing editor Gerard Baker sent out a memo which included this phrase:

“Everything we do at Dow Jones is underpinned by our striving to meet the most elevated standards of reporting and editing. It is the foundation of the trust our readers place in us.”

Precisely. This venerable institution enjoys a richly deserved reputation for journalistic excellence. Even the President wouldn’t dare to refer to its trusted reporting as “Fake news.” And yet, today this blurb appeared in my Facebook feed:

Reread that opening sentence.

It’s nothing but a sponsored post on Facebook but take a look at that opening sentence…

Even the smallest filler item in a weekend supplement of the Journal would never open and close a topic sentence with a redundant phrase.

But that’s what happened here.

And that’s the danger of having a brand that stands for ‘elevated standards’ outsource branding, in this case, to some junior content writer at Facebook. In fairness, that person may well have been working against deadline on thirty similar items so perhaps this one just fell off their radar.

But this is how kingdoms are lost; for want of a proverbial nail.

Or in this case, one more re-write.


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