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Racist Tirade, brought to you by "Flushed Away"

Posted by: Burth Helm on November 21, 2006

Ahem, adjacency problem? Like everyone else I clicked in to watch Seinfeld’s Michael Richards rant on Anybody else raise an eyebrow when you clicked to watch the video, and it ran a pre-roll ad for the children’s animated movie “Flushed Away”?

blog flushedaway.jpg

Did AOL give Dreamworks a heads up that their ad would be immediately followed by a stream of profanity and repeated use of the “n-word?” When you watch it, it practically looks like a sponsorship.

UPDATE: Just got back comment from AOL about this. They sent a statement via a spokesperson, attributing it to Kathy Kayse, AOL’s Executive Vice President Sales & Partnership Alliances:

“Traditionally, AOL offers advertising solutions which could include video pre-roll before a specific programming feature on AOL. On occasion, additional ad spots become available, in which case our technology repurposes ads to expose them to additional viewers. In the case of “Flushed Away,” when we realized that our system pushed the “Flushed Away” pre-roll ad in front of a controversial story, we immediately pulled it. An inappropriate pairing such as this is extremely rare and we are very mindful of our advertisers’ needs.”

It’s true that the Flushed Away ads are gone. The site now runs a pre-roll advertisement ahead of Kramer’s slur-filled rant for a Hershey’s candy bar.* So that’s an appropriate “pairing”?

*When asked about that, an AOL spokesperson said “Advertisers are aware that they are advertising on Obviously that choice is up to the advertiser.”



News, opinions, inflammatory meanderings and occasional ravings about the world of advertising, marketing and media. By marketing editor Burt Helm, Innovation Editor Helen Walters, and senior correspondent Michael Arndt.

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