Shoes on Parade

A funny thing happened in Variety recently.

Two days after the Academy Awards broadcast, the entertainment-industry magazine’s cover featured various images of dazzling feet—in dazzling shoes—posing on a red carpet under the headline, “Awards exclusive: first peek at paparazzi pics.”

But this “exclusive” was actually an ad prepared for shoe designer Stuart Weitzman by Korey Kay & Partners in New York. The illusion was clarified at the bottom of the ad with the line, “Stuart Weitzman isn’t the only one a little obsessed with shoes,” as well as with copy raising awareness of the designer’s new store on Los Angeles’ Rodeo Drive.

The intent was “to kind of pull one over,” said Christopher Williams, account director on Stuart Weitzman at the shop. The images were actually staged weeks before the Oscars, with models posing in a New York studio.

Apparently, the illusion succeeded. Williams noted that customers at the Rodeo Drive store, gazing at the blowup of the ad in the windows and the magazine copies provided, were guessing whose feet (and shoes) belonged to which celeb. “This was just kind of one of those beautiful coincidences,” he said.