Starting with the result, Vonage convinced the WSJ to run the image at right (from gigaOM blog) exactly as shown. This clearly makes one curious about the lines marked out. And bloggers ran with it putting the WSJ in a deserved difficult spot for censorship.
For how the events unfold please check the Vonage/WSJ GigaOM post. I am only commenting on the PR/Ad aspects.
Reading between the lines it sounds to me like:
- Vonage bought the ad space in the WSJ to promote the FreeToCompete site. The site is about Verizon trying to "screw" the competition with patents BTW.
- Vonage submits the creative with copy to the WSJ.
- WSJ objects to the "Verizon attacks Vonage" line and asks for it to be removed. Specifically they object to the somewhat disingenuous line:
- "Now, Verizon has chosen to attack Vonage in the courts. Why? Could it be all about the money?"
- Vonage (this is me proposing one scenario of how it might have happened) likely says "hey, we don’t have time to redo the creative so we will just line it out. Given you, Mr. WSJ, didn’t give us time you need to run it as is."
- Alternatively, and even worse for WSJ, is if one of their people actually did the line out before sending it to the presses! Oh that would be rich.
- WSJ editors says "OK" to amateurish revision of the ad and approve the run regardless.
- Bloggers blog it, making the WSJ censorship painfully visible and;
- Generating free PR AND BUZZ FOR FREE TO COMPETE!
You have to know the PR folks at Vonage are smiling ear to ear about getting this one live. Talk about turning an advertisement into PR about your brand!
So to the clever folks at Vonage, nice one. To the editor at WSJ – you got 0wn3d!
Next steps for Vonage. Search Technorati for blog posts on the subject. Link them ALL on your press page even if they don’t link to you. Give link love first.