We know D.C. Get our free newsletter to stay in the know.
Presidents come and go on the Washington Post’s front page. All political columnists—even David Broder—will retire in time. But there’s one mainstay of the area’s leading daily newspaper that will likely outlast them all: the Macy’s advertisement.
Yes, the Macy’s advertisement. Your eyes have glazed over hundreds of them. The images are forgettable: shimmering perfume bottles, $19.99 glassware, toothy blondes modeling coats or sweaters or gloves or hats. Are those models really dressed? Or are the sales items just digitally superimposed on the same girl? It’s a modern mystery.
The cost of a full-page advertisement in the front section runs deep in the five digits. But while most advertisers make an effort to tailor their ads to local markets, big-spender Macy’s misses the boat. With hundreds of words in fine print, and no specialized local listings, how effective are those full-pagers? Check out what Macy’s is really sharing with Washington, D.C.-area consumers, through the lens of an ad that ran in the Post on Dec. 22.
“EXTRA 20% OFF” coupon:
Big Print: “All-Day Savings Pass” for an extra 20 percent off
Medium Print: The 20-percent-off savings only apply to a selection of sale and clearance purchases. A variety of other sale and clearance items are only 15 percent off. The pass cannot be used on morning savings specials.
Fine Print: The pass excludes all “bridge and designer intimate apparel, shoes, handbags & sportswear; cashmere, cosmetics/fragrances, fashion jewelry, watches, furs, premium tops & bottoms for him, swim, electrics, electronics, furniture, mattresses, rugs,” not to mention most items from 39 different brands in the store.
Coupon for “TEN DOLLARS”:
Big Print: “Ten Dollars”
Medium Print: Scoot into Macy’s before 1 p.m. to score with this big saver. Just don’t try to use it on a morning special.
Fine Print: Again, the coupon is not fully applicable to 39 different brands and an array of items also not available for 20 percent off.
Fine Print Comparison:
Random Macy’s advertisement (from Dec. 22): Roughly 540 words*
Random Bloomingdale’s advertisement (from Jan. 3): Roughly 90 words*
*Fine print about hours not included in this count
When to Shop:
Heading to Staten Island? Now you’ll know when the Macy’s there is open for business. You can also find hours for Herald Square in Manhattan, Jersey City, and Queens. Want to know when our one D.C. store is open? It’s there if you look closely enough; “Metro Center” is sandwiched between “Hampton Bays” and “Paramus.”