Smart ads that are not

So I was looking at an online story about that dude who threatened to shoot up his coworkers and had a bunch of guns at home this morning and check out the ‘smart ads’ that popped up:

Ads for bullet proof vests and armor plate embedded in a story about someone who apparently threatened to duplicate the Aurora theater shooting? I don’t know if the content server’s analytics are genius or shit… I mean, reading about someone shooting up the movie theater or workplace might make me want to buy body armor, on the other hand, if I were to be in the bullet proof vest business, do I really want customers associating me with people who go ballistic (oops a pun) and shoot their coworkers or fellow movie watchers?  Probably not.


2 Comments on “Smart ads that are not”

  1. Booberry says:

    I work in advertising and I LOVE it when this shit happens. Every time some digital guru says “no, really they've got those algorithms straightened out and they really work now. It's amazing!” and then I think of stuff like this and laugh my ass off.

  2. Stephan Poag says:

    If you don't mind my asking, what do you do in advertising? I have a love/hate relationship with the industry; I used to work as a catalog photographer, before that I was a gaffer/grip on advertising photo and video shoots, but I was pretty far down the food chain, so I didn't get to hear a lot about algorithms. But when I was a photographer I was shooting a lot of print stuff for a department store that wanted us to introduce an 'urban' feel to our print ads to seduce the urban consumer — using black models, hip-hop style clothing and decorative grafitti — yet at the same time they were closing all of their 'underperforming' stores (which were all in the urban centers where these 'urban consumers' presumably lived). I am contractually unable to tell you the name of the store.
    I couldn't figure out if they knew something I didn't or it was just a case of the ironically named 'creative' launching a new campaign that they thought was hip but actually had nothing to do with the customers they were trying to sell to (most of whom were probably white, middle class and too old for hip-hop). Then Wal-Mart ate their lunch and they died.


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