June 13, 2011 – The sports section of today’s Miami Herald features a three-quarter page ad congratulating the Miami Heat on winning the NBA championship. A nice gesture, except that the Dallas Mavericks won the NBA title on Sunday night with a 105-95 win over the Heat.
What’s curious about this is that the November 2, 2009, edition of the Philadelphia Inquirer featured a remarkably similar “mistake”—a three-quarter page Macy’s ad congratulating the Philadelphia Phillies on winning back-to-back World Series titles. As you may recall, the Phillies hadn’t won the World Series. In fact, Philly was behind in the series 3-1 and facing elimination, and ultimately lost to the New York Yankees four games to two.
At this point one has to wonder if Macy’s is making these errors on purpose. After all, these “mistake” ads earn publicity for Macy’s nationwide (for the mere price of a local newspaper ad). To be sure, newspapers aren’t likely to press major advertisers too hard about the content of ads, not when their business is so critical to a paper’s survival.
At any rate, last night’s “mistake” makes me think of another notable sports flub involving a Florida newspaper. On June 8, 1994, the Tampa Bay Tribune accidentally published an editorial which asserted that the Tampa Bay Lightning had lost game 7 of the Stanley Cup finals. (In fact, the Lightning had defeated the Calgary Flames.)