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Tweet of the Week

Applebee’s Worst Media Buy

September 6, 2022
March 1, 2022
Mae Rice

A festive Applebee’s ad appeared picture-in-picture in live news about Russia’s invasion of Ukraine — and the jarring placement went viral. Here’s how Applebee’s and CNN responded.

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Source: Twitter

During a broadcast on Thursday, CNN cut from somber live footage of air raid sirens sounding over Kyiv to… an Applebee’s ad.

A peppy, inset Applebee’s ad, surrounded by wartime headlines.

It’s so jarring. You really have to watch the video, which went viral on Twitter (~40K RTs!) for the full effect.

The fallout for CNN and Applebee’s

CNN paused picture-in-picture ads after the incident. 

Applebee’s paused their CNN ads when they saw the clip, too, blaming the network in a statement: “​It never should have aired, and we are disappointed in the actions of the network.”

Wait — is this all CNN’s fault? 

Not totally. 

Brands should know what creative is running where on any given day, and it’s best practice to pause ads — at least celebratory ones running on news channels! — in times of crisis. 

Automated ad placements can go sour fast.

Mae Rice
about the author

Mae Rice is editor in chief at MarketerHire. A long-time content marketer, she loves learning about the weird and wonderful feedback loops that connect marketing and culture.

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