Recently I surfed to the online edition of the Ottawa Sun, and I saw the teaser headline and paragraph about the Ottawa Senators’ team doctor having been hospitalized in critical condition after a collision while riding his motorcycle.
There was also a photo of the demolished motorcycle, and the damaged car.
Then I saw the ads…
Beside and below the article and the photo of the the motorcycle he had been riding, were two large colourful ads, complete with an energetic All-Caps font: “Win a Road Trip to see the Sens”.
The full screenshot is here… you’ll also get a better look at Christina Hendricks.
The Ottawa Citizen has a story online (screenshot, but no photo of Christina Hendricks) relating people’s personal anecdotes about the doctor, and there’s an ad for the same contest right beside the doctor’s photo. Somehow, not having a photo of the accident there as well makes it not as offensive.
It’s still stupid… just not as offensive as having a banner ad reading “ROAD TRIP WITH THE SENS” above a photo of the devastating road accident that put the Senators’ doctor into a coma.
I understand that quality control for the online content of newspapers is never really a big budget item, but this was not another bizarre case of Google Adsense using keywords to automatically place Scientology recruitment ads on blogs run by people trying to recover from mental health issues.
Those ad placement decisions are made by an algorithm I doubt even Google understands.
This was a banner ad, and the main ad on the splash page, and someone at the Citizen and the Sun had to place the story next to them.