Entries in Ads (13)


Sears Pulls "SNL" Online Ads in Response to "Django Unchained" Spoof

Sandy Huffaker/Bloomberg News(NEW YORK) -- Sears says a controversial sketch that aired on Saturday Night Live last month will not stop the company from advertising on the NBC program.  However, Sears adds that it is pulling ads from online versions of the show.

Earlier this week, the conservative group American Family Association claimed that Sears and JCPenney had removed its ads from SNL in protest of a Django Unchained spoof the show aired on Feb. 16 called "Djesus Uncrossed."  The segment featured host and Django star Christoph Waltz as a violent Christ.

Sears clarified its stance in a statement to ABC News Radio on Thursday: "We received customer feedback about our ads running on and Hulu in a rotation with other advertisers around the online rebroadcast of that particular SNL episode.  We informed customers that it wasn’t supposed to happen, and while going forward we may advertise on the television broadcast, we’ve taken steps to ensure that our commercials do not air online exactly as they did in this situation."

JCPenney tells The New York Times it hasn't been advertising on SNL.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio


Google Ad Delivery Can Show 'Racial Bias,' Says Harvard Study

NICHOLAS KAMM/AFP/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- A Google search for a "racially associated name" is more likely to trigger advertisements suggesting the person has a criminal background, according to a study by a Harvard professor.

Latanya Sweeney, a professor of government and technology at Harvard University and a specialist in online privacy, found that queries for a "black identifying" name were more likely to trigger an advertisement suggesting an arrest record than names traditionally given to white babies.

The study involved searches for 2,184 racially associated names as determined by prior workplace discrimination studies.  Sweeney focused her analysis on and a highly trafficked news website that displays the widely used Google AdWords advertisements.

Names often given to black babies, such as DeShawn, Darnell and Jermaine, generated ads suggesting an arrest record in 81 to 86 percent of the searches on one website and 92 to 95 percent on the other, Sweeney wrote.

By comparison, names "predominantly given to white babies," such as Geoffrey, Jill and Emma, tended to trigger ads with more neutral copy, such as "Looking for Emma Jones?"

Of the searches involving the primarily white names, advertisements containing the word "arrest" appeared in 23 to 29 percent of the searches on one site and a range of 0 to 60 percent on the other, the study said.

Sweeney wrote that the statistical difference could have an impact on job seekers.  However, she said more work would need to be done in order to determine whether it is Google's algorithm, advertisers, or an inherent bias in society that explains her findings.

"There is discrimination in delivery of these ads," Sweeney concluded, though she said the study also "raises more questions than it answers."

Google AdWords determines which advertisements appear based on keywords, advertiser bids and user behavior.

In a statement, Google said, "AdWords does not conduct any racial profiling.  We also have a policy which states that we will not allow ads that advocate against an organization, person or group of people.  It is up to individual advertisers to decide which keywords they want to choose to trigger their ads."

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio


Ragú Does Something Spicy, and It’s Not Their Sauce

Unilever(NEW YORK) -- Ragú, which calls itself a once-very-conservative company, is spicing up its style with a new, provocative advertising campaign.

Its new commercials revolve around different scenarios representing the “ultimate, longest day of childhood,” a rep told ABC News.

But there is one commercial in particular that has started conversations with its edgy, more risqué material.

“To set the scene -- what’s more embarrassing as a kid than walking in on your parents doing you know what!” the press release introducing the new campaign said.

Originally posted to YouTube on Aug. 3, the all-too-familiar awkward scenario had about 1.3 million page views as of Thursday.

Ragú said it plans spots featuring other childhood moments, all with tongue-in-cheek themes showing the company’s version of what parents do to make their kids’ long days end better: By serving up a huge plate of spaghetti topped with Ragú sauce.

The “Long Day of Childhood” campaign is aimed at helping the company update its image to adapt with its audience.

“Mainstream companies realize they need to change with the times, and they are doing it one ad at a time,” the rep said.

To see other commercials in the “Long Day of Childhood” campaign, click here.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Sponsorship Ads to Appear on NBA Jerseys

Patrick McDermott/Getty Images(LAS VEGAS) -- The NBA Thursday became the first of the four major U.S. sports leagues to allow sponsor
labels to be displayed on team uniforms.

On Thursday night, NBA officials announced after their Board of Governors meeting its tentative approval for small advertisement patches to appear on team jerseys beginning with the 2013-14 season, Advertising Age reports. Board members will vote formally on the jersey ads at the next board meeting in September.

The ads will appear as 2.5-by-2.5-inch patches in the upper left shoulder area on the front of the jerseys, according to Bloomberg Businessweek.  Adam Silver, NBA Deputy Commissioner told reporters Thursday at a press conference that guidelines for the ads will likely be in place at the commencement of next season, and that the ads will also appear on jerseys sold in stores.

The league expects the jersey ads across its 30 teams to generate $100 million per season, Silver said, according to Ad Age.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Puppy Mill Ads Banned from Facebook Marketplace

Peter Foley/Bloomberg via Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- These days, that "doggie in the window," to quote the song, is just as likely to be wagging its tail from a window in your computer screen. Estimates are that up to half of puppy purchases are now made online.

But one thing hasn't changed: If that cute puppy is being sold by anyone other than the person who bred it, it probably came from a "puppy mill," where conditions are anything but cute.

The problem is that breeders who sell online fall through a crack in the federal law and are entirely unregulated. The Animal Welfare Act exempts people who sell directly to the public.

But there is now at least one website where puppy mill ads are banned: Marketplace on Facebook.

The ASPCA began by preparing to launch a campaign against Facebook but found an ally instead of an adversary. The advocacy group just announced a partnership, also including, which powers the Facebook Marketplace, to filter out the puppy mill ads.

That's not as easy as it sounds. Ads from shelters, from rescue organizations and from responsible breeders are still welcome. The designers of the filtering system are reluctant to reveal exactly how they do it, for fear the puppy mills will figure out how to game the system, but they say it's working. More than 10,000 ads have already come down, and they expect that number to grow as existing ads expire. Facebook declined to comment.

But an equally daunting challenge, they say, is educating the public about the ubiquity of puppy mills. A poll commissioned by the ASPCA found that while most Americans have heard of puppy mills and say they wouldn't buy a dog that came from one, most American also believe that the dogs in pet stores come from legitimate sources.

But the ASPCA says nearly every puppy in a window comes from a puppy mill, because no responsible breeder will sell a dog through a third party. That goes for online sellers as well. Good breeders want to meet the buyer and make sure they are sending the puppy to a good home.

Raids on puppy mills have revealed breeding houses where adult dogs are kept for a lifetime in wire cages, sometimes lying in their own waste. The females are bred every heat cycle and given no affection.

"People don't realize we're not talking about the puppies," the ASPCA's Menkin says.

"When you purchase a puppy from a pet store or over the Internet, you're condemning that puppy's parents to a lifetime of misery."

Why misery? It's just math. It's almost impossible, Menkin says, to breed puppies humanely and also make a profit. A Chihuahua, for example, produces two to five puppies per litter. The puppies can sell for roughly $200 each. A responsible breeder will breed a Chihuahua only once a year, which means an annual income of $400 to $1,000 per dog. Anyone who keeps a pet knows that food and vet bills can easily cost that much or more. So dogs bred for profit are not treated like pets.

Another result of simple math is that legitimate dealers cannot meet the public demand for popular breeds, particularly when a celebrity or a movie puts that breed in the spotlight.

The movie 101 Dalmatians produced an enormous demand for Dalmatians. Beethoven did the same for Saint Bernards, and Paris Hilton for Chihuahuas. In each case, puppy mills geared up to meet the demand. But many families discovered that these breeds can present challenges as pets.

A hot puppy one Christmas season often means a glut of unwanted adult dogs the next year. Unwanted Chihuahuas were so common on the West Coast after the Paris Hilton boom, they were actually airlifted east, where there were more families willing to adopt them.

The Internet is full of complaints from online buyers who received sick puppies, or simply did not receive the puppy they saw in the picture. Puppy mills count on the human heart to be too soft to put that puppy back in the box and return it.

A better solution is to be patient. "You're taking in a member of your family," Menkin says, "who will be with you from eight to 15 years."

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Huggies Pulls Ads After Dads Insulted

Christopher Polk/Getty Images for Huggies(NEW YORK) -- Dads complain. Huggies listens.

The diaper company changed its “Have Dad Put Huggies To The Test” campaign after the controversial commercials depicting dads as inattentive caregivers sparked outrage -- among dads.

Last week, Huggies posted several videos onto their Facebook page as part of a campaign “to demonstrate the performance of our Huggies diapers and baby wipes in real life situations.”

The commercials showed dads so consumed by sports on TV that they neglected to tend to the full diapers on their babies.

In the ads, a voiceover explains that the company put the diapers to the test “to prove that Huggies diapers and wipes can handle anything.”

But some dads saw things differently. "Dads were being put to the test, not the diapers,” said Chris Routly, a full-time stay-at-home father from Lehigh Valley, Pa. “I was disappointed; they tried to do right by dads, but played up the stereotype while claiming to celebrate fatherhood.”

Routly, the father of two sons, ages 1 and 3, decided to express his disappointment with Kimberly-Clark, maker of Huggies, on his blog, “The Daddy Doctrines.”

The feedback from his post led the father of two to start a “We’re Dads, Huggies. Not Dummies” petition, receiving more than 1,000 signatures in less than a week.

Routly’s petition, along with blogs by other upset dads, including Jim Higley who writes "The Bobblehead Dad," gained the attention of Huggies and its parent company.

“We have heard the feedback from dads concerning our current ‘real life’ dad commercials,” said Joey Mooring, spokesperson for Kimberly-Clark and the Huggies brand, in a statement. "We recognize our intended message did not come through and that we need to do a better job communicating the campaign’s overall message.”

Routly was one of several dads the company decided to approach for feedback.

“We have listened and learned,” Mooring wrote.

“The company has already made changes to the campaign to better reflect the true spirit of the campaign -- putting the performance of Huggies diapers and baby wipes to the test,” the statement said.

The videos have been taken off Huggies’ Facebook page and replaced with ads showing attentive dads tending to their babies during naptime. Huggies plans to continue to revise the TV ads to clearly communicate the message.

“We also realize that a fact of life is that dads care for their kids just as much as moms do and in some cases are the only caregivers,” Mooring adds. “The intention of our Huggies TV ad was to illustrate that dads have an opinion on product performance just as much as moms do.”

As for stay-at-home dad Routly, he’s pleased with Huggies’ response to his petition.

“I’m happy and appreciative because Huggies proved they are serious about showing the importance of dads and are helping change the stereotypes to show dads in the best way,” he said.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Are Equinox Ad Models ‘Too Skinny’?

David L Ryan/The Boston Globe via Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- Equinox Fitness, a national gym chain headquartered in New York, is getting hit with criticism from members and the media for ads that feature models who are “skinny” instead of “healthy and fit.”

The ad campaign is Equinox’s second set by fashion photographer Terry Richardson. In the nine photos, scantily-clad male and female models pose in luxurious settings and clothing. The models lie on a couch, ride bicycles and pose with puppies -- none of which take place in a gym.

“What do you get when you combine hot models, French bulldogs, cake and Terry Richardson? Our executive creative director spills secrets from the 2012 campaign shoot,” Equinox said on its Facebook page.

Equinox members peppered the company’s Facebook site this week with criticism, saying the models looked “anorexic.”

“Why did all of the models have a runway physique?” one member wrote. “Equinox is promoting health and fitness, so I would like to see some healthy and fit women on their ad campaigns who look like they could actually survive a typical Equinox class. Can we maybe see a little bit of muscle on the ladies next time around? The Nike ads are great examples of strong, fit women!” another member wrote.

Fashion news site Fashionista wrote, “The girls are undoubtedly thin -- but they have some definition. The Equinox location in SoHo is overrun with models, and many of them I’ve seen there are a LOT thinner than these girls.”

Others saw something else in the ad campaign.

“The people who complain, have missed the point...and the message it is meant to convey,” an Equinox member wrote in defense of the ads. “The selection of models and the images show Equinox as high fashion, cool, hip and edgy.”

But another member had another idea: "If people who actually belong to the gym have 'missed the point' maybe the ads have missed the mark.”

Neither Terry Richardson nor Equinox returned requests from ABC News for comment.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Facebook to Launch Sponsored Ads in News Feed

Justin Sullivan/Getty Images(PALO ALTO, Calif.) -- Facebook users will soon see ads in their news feeds. The social network will gradually begin to show Sponsored Stories social ads in the main news feed of its Web version beginning in January 2012.

"Starting early next year, we will gradually begin showing Sponsored Stories in News Feed," a spokesperson for Facebook said. "Our goal is to do this thoughtfully and slowly. We hope to show people no more than one Sponsored Story in their News Feeds per day and the story will be clearly labeled.”

Though users will not have the option to block the Sponsored Stories from appearing in their news feed or having their activity used for feed's ads, users will be able to "x" out of individual ads, TechCrunch reports.

Facebook's new ad move is likely to provoke backlash from some users, who wish not to see the ads or have their content used.  This would be a good reason for the company to integrate the ads slowly, showing just one per day. Plus, the Sponsored ads will look so similar to regular news feed stories that many users will not realize they are viewing an ad at first glance.

How will it work? Advertisers will pay to have user stories and interactions (such as "liking" a page, receiving updates from "liked" pages, checking into local businesses or sharing content from external sites) turned into featured ads. Facebook will display the ads in gray type at the bottom right corner of news feed stories.

This would not be Facebook's first try at mixing advertising with the site's social content. In 2006, the company began experimenting with the placement of sponsored material within the news feed, but discontinued this plan in 2008. Ads on Facebook generally appeared in the site's sidebar for some years. Starting next month, sponsored content will show up in both the news feed and the side bar.  The ads will not appear on mobile version news feeds, but TechCrunch reports Facebook is still considering the idea.

With the introduction of Facebook's revamped online ad strategy, one of the world's most popular websites could change the standards of online ad spending.

"If Facebook can weather the protest of users who want an ad-free news feed, it will have managed to open a significant new revenue stream," writes TechCrunch's Josh Constine.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Lowe's Faces Backlash for Pulling Ads from TLC Muslim Show

Alex Wong/Getty Images(MOORESVILLE, N.C.) -- Lowe's is facing heavy condemnation from all over the Internet, including celebrities who have taken to Twitter to denounce the home improvement company following its decision to pull its advertisements from a TLC show called All-American Muslim.

Russell Simmons, the hip hop entrepreneur and chairman for the Foundation for Ethnic Understanding, has been vocal with numerous tweets regarding the issue.

In one tweet about Lowe's, he wrote, "U endorse hate. U may be held accountable we will promote a boycott if they don't reinstate campaign and apologise #allamericanmuslim."

"I will sic every civil rights agency on @lowes until they straighten this out," Simmons vowed.

The TLC reality show focuses on Muslim families in the greater Detroit area.  Some groups have objected to the show, with the conservative Florida Family Association, which organized an email campaign aimed at Lowe's to drop the ads, calling it "propaganda that riskily hides the Islamic agenda's clear and present danger to American liberties and traditional values."

"It appears that we managed to step into a hotly contested debate with strong views from virtually every angle and perspective," Lowe's said in a statement posted on its Facebook page, recognizing that "we've managed to make some people very unhappy."

Actress Mia Farrow got involved in the battle, writing, "Big effort on Twitter to hit Lowes where it hurts, Let's all #boycottLowes."

A campaign with a goal of 20,000 signatures already had more than 19,400 signatures early Tuesday morning.

"Defend our American values: tell these companies to fight back against bigotry and fear-mongering by publicly repudiating calls to stop advertising during TLC's All-American Muslim," said the petition.

The petition is directed at the CEOs of dozens of companies including T-Mobile, Wal-Mart and Time Warner Cable, and asks them to publicly reject requests to pull their ads from the show.

Lowe's said it received a lot of communication regarding the program that became a "lighting rod" for many different views and chose to pull its ads for that reason.

"We believe it is best to respectfully defer to communities, individuals and groups to discuss and consider such issues of importance," the company said. "We strongly support and respect the right of our customers, the community at large, and our employees to have different views.  If we have made anyone question that commitment, we apologize."

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Ad Deemed Too Political for Seattle Metro Allowed to Run

ABC News(SEATTLE) -- TAP America, a Seattle nonprofit organization, was initially rebuffed by the Seattle Metro bus transit system when it sought to run advertisements on local buses that would urge shoppers to buy American goods. But Seattle Metro changed its tune Thursday, saying it would allow the ads to run, despite initially deeming them too political for city buses.

According to Mark Bloome, founder of TAP America, he "got notice that they turned it down because they said it was political and controversial," a designation that Bloome said left him "flabbergasted." "To have a government body say that to buy American is controversial, I don't get it," Bloome said.

The initial ban seemed to stem from a Seattle metro policy that bars "Public issue advertising expressing or advocating an opinion, position or viewpoint on matters of public debate about economic, political, religious or social issues." This ban went into place after a group sought to place ads depicting Israelis as war criminals on buses, which were not allowed to run. Seattle Metro's initial response to the TAP America ads was, "The concept of Buy American is an issue of both political and economic debate."

Bloome said, however, that TAP America's advertisement did not fall into that category.

"We're not political, we're a nonprofit organization trying to help our country."

The Seattle Metro system apparently agreed, as it reversed its decision and allowed the ads to run. "Upon further evaluation ... the ad does not express an opinion about a public issue ... but rather a promotion of the sale of goods," Seattle Metro said in a statement. "Therefore, we will allow it to run."

The words "December Is Buy American Month, Shop Locally, Join Seattle's," will be displayed to Seattle Shoppers.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

ABC News Radio