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Steve Jobs' return and the Journal's ad placement

The placement of an ad featuring two skeletons immediately opposite a Wall Street Journal article about the return of Steve Jobs to Apple's stage has raised a few eyebrows.

Sometimes ads run where they shouldn't even loiter.

I once was involved in a TV spot that was clearly meant for later viewing (it featured a CEO in a restroom, reading a newspaper) that suddenly aired at 6 p.m. to howls of uproar. We were mortally upset, of course. The media buyer was showered with, um, beer.

Which is why I wonder just what the creators of an ad for Grandin Road, a purveyor of furniture and other domestic items, must have wondered when their ad for happy Halloweeny items became entangled with a Wall Street Journal article about Steve Jobs' return to Apple stage performance.

Wall Street Journal

You see, the Grandin Road ad features two skeletons. And some perhaps insouciant soul at The Wall Street Journal had decided to place it opposite the Steve Jobs coverage which happened to enjoy a picture of the still very slim Apple uberpresence.

Jobs' health problems have been well-documented, and one might have imagined that someone might have noticed the unfortunate symbiosis of the Jobs picture and the one in the ad.

The chosen picture of Jobs makes it seem as if he is declaiming to the skeletons, offering to sell the bony ones a new iPod or two. In fact, it looks as if the skeleton on the right is somewhat aghast at something Jobs has revealed. The new pricing, perhaps.

It all makes for a peculiar conjuncture of editorial picture choice and ad placement.

My fanciful, hardened heart wonders whether it could have been some enterprising, well-connected PR person's attempt to get the ad talked about. But my left brain is sure this was not the case.

So it's very possible that no one at the Journal noticed. These things do happen, even to the very best. But is it also possible that someone did and thought it, in a fleeting moment of whimsy, somehow amusing?