It’s Media Placement 101, of course. Target your online advertising strategically, causing it to pop up in places where people are discussing your product category. How better to select a relevant audience? But it was hard not to smirk a bit when I clicked on a story, teased elsewhere – and in doing so, apparently looked like a potential washer buyer!
This kind of thing has certainly happened before, of course, with airline ads next to crash stories, and fast-food ads in the margins of healthy-eating stories. But THIS one seems particularly unfortunate. In a story on reviewed.com built around customer complaints about “smelly” front-loading washers from Sears, guess what the adjacent ad is selling?
Now, it might be okay if the editorial commentary was aimed at a particular Sears- branded item. But most of the criticisms visible on the page seem to be inherent to the front-load design. (My favorite line is the photo caption: “Keeping the door shut can turn your washer into a petri dish.”)
And while Kenmore is still the Sears “house” brand in appliances, I think of Whirlpool as a pretty prominent offering at Sears, as well…ever since my childhood in a very “Sears” family! So the ad placement is way too close for comfort – at least, I’m sure, to Whirlpool execs.
Nothing fatal, nothing terrible going on here. Just another reminder as we continue to tame the Wild West of digital advertising : we still need to watch out for some of the same mishaps in that space we thought we solved long ago in traditional media!