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Plus Report - By Thomas Baekdal - March 2022

Wars and advertising don't mix... but we also make it harder for ourselves

In this Plus article, we are going to talk about the future revenue streams for publishers in times of crisis. What is happening to advertising? And what mindset do we need to have towards the public supporting the news?

You might have seen the clip from CNN that was widely shared on social media the other day about how they completely messed up injecting advertising into their news coverage of Ukraine.

If you haven't seen it, look below. But essentially, as CNN was broadcasting air raid sirens from Kiev of an imminent attack, they switched over to an embedded ad from Applebee's.


The problem with this should be obvious to anyone in the industry (but apparently not CNN). This ad wasn't just some ad spot between other things, it was embedded into the news coverage, which means that the context between the news and the ad suddenly meant something. And the context was incredibly wrong.

The audience, at that very moment, was feeling incredibly sad, scared and outraged, and then this ad, with a completely jolly focus, just felt like a slap in the face. It's so jarring, so sudden, so out of touch with the situation.

So, naturally, the public reacted. They started sharing this on social media where people were angry both at CNN for turning a war into just another form of entertainment for creating ad views, but also at Applebee's for being out of touch (even though they had no fault in it).

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Thomas Baekdal

Founder, media analyst, author, and publisher. Follow on Twitter

"Thomas Baekdal is one of Scandinavia's most sought-after experts in the digitization of media companies. He has made ​​himself known for his analysis of how digitization has changed the way we consume media."
Swedish business magazine, Resumé


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