A New York Times Print Ad for the Ages

It ran in the July 18 and Aug. 8 editions.

Ira Stoll writes on Heatstreat that when he used to work at Jewish newspaper The Forward, the running joke in the newsroom was that “the average age of our readers is dead.” This comes up because in his piece, he picks out a trio of advertisements from recent New York Times print editions that highlighted a new twist on adult diapers, a walking stick and an enhanced reading lamp, and wonders about the actual median age of the NYT print edition reader.

NYTMensLibertyAd_FeaturedThe old-school look and feel of the half-page ad for the Men’s Liberty concealed-wear product, which ran Monday July 18 and again Monday Aug. 8, is fascinating. The advertisement is laid out like an article and runs over 1,000 words, which says as much as any deep-dive research study about the way older people still read hard-copy newspapers.

Another element that jumps out is the largest of three photos displayed in the center of the ad. A young man gazes down the side of a cliff rock, in a manner that is intended to convey what the new Men’s Liberty innovations might signify for the $7 billion adult diapers industry. He’s too young; the photo looks like it could be a bad composite; and evidently, for this particular ad’s target reader, it doesn’t matter.

And just to be clear – we’re not making fun of the Men’s Liberty product itself. Rather, it’s just kind of wild to see something like this in a 2016 metropolitan newspaper, rather than in, say, an old copy of Reader’s Digest lying around the summer cabin. Also, for those who followed that much ballyhooed recent Wall Street Journal business about men’s cargo shorts, Tucson resident Sam T. – a main source of quotes in the NYT paid advertisement – offers at one point an unintended coda.