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This Year’s Yom Kippur Break Fast, Brought to You by Pork

Yom Kippur Sponsored by Pork

My friend Alex was surprised to learn that a buddy’s Yom Kippur Break Fast this year is apparently “sponsored by Pork.” At least that’s what it says on the banner ad Evite placed on the RSVP page. As my mother-in-law always says, you have to keep an eye on those reformed Jews.

Lab Tests on 12-Year-Old McDonalds Burger, Made Possible By Advertising Support from McDonalds

Screenshot from Elliot Loh, who was reading Serious Eats on his phone when a McDonalds McChicken Deluxe ad served up at the bottom of an article about whether or not McDonalds hamburgers decompose over time. Who knows, maybe an article beating up on McDonalds hamburgers boosts sales by making McChicken Deluxes sound relatively more appetizing.

McDonalds Mobile Ad

The Breakfast of Swingers

When the sophisticated ad-targeting algorithms break down, as they sometimes do, we are usually subject to campaigns that test our tolerance for (unintended) tastelessness, such as life insurance ads next news of killed terrorists or cruise-liner ads next to stories of sinking ships.

Today’s installment, however, is much more fun: Bisquick’s “Unleash the Hidden Power” campaign is running on this women’s lifestyle site post exploring the rising popularity of wife-swapping. Meanwhile there is no reference to any of the above topics at the Fun and Games section of the brand’s website.

More from humans v bots file.

Awkward Ad Targeting at NY Times

“One would think this far into contextual targeting it wouldn’t yield ridiculous pairings with inappropriate content. But sadly one would be wrong,” says Brian Morrissey at DigiDay. This time it’s the New York Times: A Holland America Line ad alongside its news story about the capsized Italian cruise ship.

(Screenshot credit: ADmantX.)

Cruiseline Ads Next to Capsized Cruiseliner

For the Awkward Adjacency file: Swedish newspaper Angermanlanningen runs cruiseliner ads next to an article and photo of the recently capsized Costa Concordia. More at Copy Ranter. (I found it via @ToddWasserman.)

Buying Audience: Like Merchandising to Customers Who Are Already In Your Store

From Andy Ellenthal’s post at Digiday. He’s the CEO of semantic ad tech company Peer39.

“Considering how much attention, from the press and venture capitalists, is paid to audience-based ad buying, you’d think it would inevitably rule the roost — at the expense of old-fashioned content-based buying. You’d be wrong.

“The hype is a natural outcome of the fact that audience data has never had this scale and accessibility before. Buyers can now match their targeting criteria against huge pools if impressions. The concept is super cool: Displaying your message only to the exact group of desired consumers?

“But the reality reminds me of the difference between a retailer’s merchandising and marketing. Merchandising’s job is to sell once a consumer is inside the store, but marketing needs to drive them there in the first place. There will always be more prospective buyers and influencers outside the store, than shoppers with wallet in hand. If you only merchandised, at some point soon the store would be a very quiet and lonely place.”

Context Is Everything

76 Billboard on Side of Building

If I’m going to razz the contextual ad networks every time they put life-insurance ads next to killed terrorists or job-board ads next to news about Steve Jobs, I better do the same when I spot a poorly-placed billboard like this one. I love the new 76 campaign, We’re on the Driver’s Side. Unfortunately this billboard — “Maybe there’s a cop behind this billboard, maybe there’s not” — isn’t a stand-alone advertisement along a freeway behind which a cop might hide. It’s attached to a yoga studio in Bernal Heights in San Francisco. If that cop is in savasana, I’m not too worried he’s going to pull me over.

Keyword Ad Targeting Puts Life Insurance Banner Next to Bin Laden Coverage on CNN


Bin Laden on CNN Next to Life Insurance Ad

From Searchblog.

UPDATE: Mark Chu Cheong’s take:

Mark Chu Cheong on Insurance Ad

Google’s for Fashion Shopping

Here’s what Google is doing with its $100 million acquisition of Combining visual search with retail advertising opportunities. From NY Times:

“In a deliberate collision between nerds and fashion mavens, Google has created a new e-commerce site that significantly improves how fashion is presented and sold online…. It is a collection of hundreds of virtual boutiques merchandised — or, in the new parlance, ‘curated’ — by designers, retailers, bloggers, celebrities and regular folks. You can shop in the style of, say, the actress Carey Mulligan or Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen — among the celebrities who signed up for the launch — or you can build your own boutique and amass followers who can comment on your taste.”

It’s interesting to see Google playing in the human-curated arena, eh? The celeb fashion mavens who are running the first few boutiques aren’t the kind of people who would accept financial deals that only pay them a share of retail revenues they help peddle. Perhaps, though, this celebrity-driven approach is one intended to seed the idea. Eventually, I suppose, individual aspiring fashionistas will pick up the slack set up their own boutiques — and they’ll do it for fun plus a simple rev share.

I’m also not sure what to make of Google launching it’s own content site. I’m guessing is a test lab for something that Google will eventually syndicate to its AdSense publisher network.

(Disclosure: Google Ventures is an investor in Pixazza, but Pixazza has no connection to or

Facebook Execs Fear Google Will Prioritize Google Social Pages

It’s rare that I read a newspaper article to the very end. I was rewarded for the effort this morning, though, by Claire Cain Miller’s piece on Google’s attempts to battle Facebook in the social networking arena, Determined to Crack the Social Code. The most interesting line is the last one:

“Larry Yu, a Facebook spokesman, said his company expected competitors large and small to emerge but was focused on building a valuable service. Privately, though, Facebook executives have said that their biggest worry is that Google will prioritize a Google profile page over a Facebook page in search results.”

Last week I noticed that Google prioritizes an old version of this blog that’s hosted on Google’s Blogger platform over the one you’re reading. I haven’t published new content to the Blogger version in four years, and it has significantly fewer inbound links from other sites, so to a layman it’s hard to understand why would rank higher than It’s possible that Google just knows how to optimize for PageRank better than anyone on the outside.

It’s also possible that all Blogger sites rank highly in search because, collectively, lots of other sites point to individual blogs on across the Blogger domain ( But that doesn’t totally add up. If I searched for news about some tech company, Google generally recommends more recent, relevant sites ahead of bigger, higher-PageRank sites that don’t have recent content.

Meanwhile it’s totally reasonable to expect a giant public company to do all within its power to ward off competitors. (Y’know, such as Facebook or ChasNote.) But if, in fact, Google does allow editorial judgment into its PageRank logic — especially when it comes to ranking high-profile sites like Facebook — how will they explain it to the millions of people that love Google precisely because it’s a service where math, not people, determines relevance?