Stories of contextual advertising gone bad abound on the Internet, an ad for Samsonite at the bottom of a New York Post piece about a chopped-up body found in a suitcase being arguably the most famous example.
However, reader Gus Zucco sent over what has to be the best contextual ad screw up in the history of Internet marketing.
Zucco spotted the ad last week when he was reading a story about the 15th anniversary of Nirvana singer Kurt Cobain’s death. Cobain was found in his home in April 1994, dead of what was ruled as a self-inflicted shotgun wound to his head.
At the end of the article on Cobain was a contextual ad for MyCelebsDietBlog.net.
The headline: “Kurt Cobain Diet.”
The tag: “I lost 30 lbs by following the 1 diet rule Kurt Cobain uses.”
Ah yes, the old shotgun-blast-to-the-face diet. That’s one foolproof way to take off those love handles.
And that wasn’t the only wacky MyCelebsDietBlog.com ad to appear next to Cobain’s death-anniversary coverage.
On the bottom of the New York Daily News’s coverage of the Cobain story, Ads by Yahoo delivered an ad with the following copy.
“Janis Joplin Diet.”
“I lost 30 lbs by following the 1 diet rule Janis Joplin uses.”
Joplin—who was mentioned in the New York Daily news piece as an example of another tragic rock-star death—died in 1970 of an alcohol and heroin overdose.
So apparently the No. 1 rule for dieting at MyCelebsDietBlog.com is, “be dead.”
Yep, that’s it. As the old saying goes: “Nothing melts away unwanted pounds like death.”
It’s not clear who’s stupider here, Yahoo Ads or MyCelebsDietBlog. Can’t contextual ads be programmed to screen out dead celebrities’ names? And isn’t that one of the first things that would pop into mind when designing a campaign to be triggered by celebrity names?
Maybe in pay-per-click campaigns, dead celebrities’ names are cheaper.