These sorts of ads began showing up over the summer when Google users added terms like "torrent" or "DVDrip" to their searches.

Google Fights Piracy (And Makes A Buck) With Ads For Legal Downloads In Search Results

Have you been wanting to catch up on Game of Thrones but don’t have HBO (or a friend who will share her HBO Go login info)? People who search for things like “Game of Thrones Download” on Google are now being greeted by ads from services offering legal ways to pay for the content you’re after. [More]

Colin Kaepernick Fined $10K For Wearing The Wrong Headphones

Colin Kaepernick Fined $10K For Wearing The Wrong Headphones

As we mentioned earlier this week, the NFL has banned players from wearing any non-Bose headphones on the field, in the locker room or while talking to the press after the game. Which is why San Francisco quarterback Colin Kaepernick is being hit with a $10,000 fine for sporting a pair of the Beats headphones (that he gets paid a lot more than ten grand to endorse). [More]

Creepy Mall Billboard Watches You, Wants To Play Board Games

Creepy Mall Billboard Watches You, Wants To Play Board Games

I find life-size video screen ads with images of people really unnerving, and that was before I came to realize that they could be watching me back. Toy company Mattel, out to promote its board games before the holidays, created a cool event that brought random shoppers and an actor in a remote location together…to play board games. [More]

To The Extent That Obvious Attempts At Viral Advertising Can Be Art, This Is It

(GE on YouTube)

While I am not one to wax on about lightbulbs, I do desperately adore actor Jeff Goldblum. So sure, this ad by GE for its lightbulbs is definitely a blatant attempt to “go viral,” as the people who think they sound hip say, but it’s also utterly weird and great. And also Jeff Goldblum. [More]

"Hey, ladies, talk about ED before you guys go on vacation."

Viagra Airing TV Ads Targeted At Women For The First Time

While Viagra is a medication taken for men, they’re not the only ones who could benefit from its use. The makers of the erectile dysfunction treatment have figured out that women are a valuable marketing asset, what with being half of a man-woman horizontal tango, and as such, have started aiming ads at the female of the species for the first time ever. [More]

(Bob Avery)

Facebook’s New Ad Service Lets Advertisers Get Up Close And Personal Everywhere You Are

Facebook ads: we’ve all seen a million of them. While some are generic spam, many are very creepily on-target. Until now, Facebook has mostly used its massive hoard of detailed user data for itself, and to sell ads on its own site. But now the site you love to hate is finding a new way to bank on your favorite bands and brands, with a new advertising service that can let companies chase down and advertise to any specific group they want. [More]

You Could Buy 5 Tricked-Out Teslas For the Price Of One Sunday Night Football Ad

You Could Buy 5 Tricked-Out Teslas For the Price Of One Sunday Night Football Ad

Are you thinking about advertising your business on prime-time network TV? It might be a good investment, but for the price of just a single ad on one show, you could treat yourself to a very expensive, maxed-out electric vehicle. [More]

(Simon Abrams)

Feds Warn Advertisers Against Trying To Hide The Truth

Most of us accept the fact that advertisers have to massage the truth to put their products in the best possible light. You’re likely to sell more widgets saying “The fastest widget on the market!” and doing your best to hide the disclosure that you really mean it’s the fastest widget you can buy at one particular market in rural Alberta. But some advertisers have apparently been getting too fine with their fine print and have been put on notice by federal regulators to just stop it already. [More]

Yelp Swears It Doesn’t Manipulate Reviews, Even Though It’s Allowed To

Yelp Swears It Doesn’t Manipulate Reviews, Even Though It’s Allowed To

Earlier this month, a federal appeals court held that Yelp is free to shuffle positive and negative reviews around at will, and can even use that freedom as a way to urge businesses to advertise on the site. But even in light of this ruling, Yelp maintains that buying ads on the site does not determine which reviews show up for your business. [More]

(Xavier J. Peg)

Procter & Gamble Reportedly Cancels NFL Breast Cancer Awareness Promotion

The nation’s largest TV advertiser, and the company that makes many of the products in your bathroom, has reportedly decided against sponsoring the NFL’s annual breast cancer awareness initiative in the wake of numerous allegations of domestic abuse against players. [More]

If Facebook Is Going To Label Satirical Stories, It Should Be Calling Out Ads Posing As News Links

I'm mostly doing this story so I can repeatedly share my Facebook profile photo of an 18-year-old me with a glorious head of 1993 hair.

Facebook began labeling certain shared links as “satire,” as a bit of hand-holding for its less-savvy users who can’t tell the difference between an actual news headline and one written by the writers of The Onion. But what Facebook really needs to do is start labeling so-called “native” or sponsored stories on non-satire sites so that your idiot friends might think twice before sharing a story that is really just an ad for some juice company. [More]

This LifeAlert Ad Is Creepier Than American Horror Story

This LifeAlert Ad Is Creepier Than American Horror Story

Fear can be a good motivator in marketing. It’s probably not such a good motivator when your ads freak everyone out so much that they leave the room or change the channel. What company has consumers so frightened that they’re begging the company to stop showing the ads? Life Alert. Yes, the people behind the often-mocked “I’ve fallen and I can’t get up” ads. [More]

Creator Of Pop-Up Ads Apologizes For Doing His Part To Ruin The Internet

(Misfit Photographer)

Along with auto-play video and auto-refresh webpages, pop-up ads make up the unholy trinity of browsing the Internet. Now, the man who wrote the code for the first ever ad to come out of nowhere and spoil your reading experience is saying he’s sorry to the world. [More]

Truly Depressing: 400K People Watched Arby’s “Brisket Channel” For Average Of 38 Minutes

Truly Depressing: 400K People Watched Arby’s “Brisket Channel” For Average Of 38 Minutes

Perhaps it was to satisfy an atavistic desire, connecting across the eons with our hunter/gatherer forebears by gazing in awe as a slab of animal meat cooks slowly, the fat rendering, collagen melting. Or perhaps we’ve reached another stage in the mind’s evolution, with some next-level humans able to divine meaning and narrative out of watching a brisket cook through the lens of a single fixed TV camera. Please let there be some sane, acceptable explanation why hundreds of thousands of people would tune in to watch an Arby’s marketing stunt, and why they would give it more attention than they would the average TV show. [More]

Burger King’s Largest Franchisee Blames Local Ad Cuts For Lower Sales

Burger King’s Largest Franchisee Blames Local Ad Cuts For Lower Sales

A few weeks ago, we shared with you a Bloomberg Businessweek cover story about fast-food chain Burger King, its young leadership, and its effort to change a lot of things about the fast-food brand business model. When the chain shed most of its corporate-owned stores in the U.S. in 2012, existing franchisees like publicly traded Carrols took on those restaurants. Its sales are down, Carrols wants investors to know, because Burger King cut back on local ad reimbursements to his loyal subjects. [More]

With legal pot, comes advertising.

Cannabis Company Unveils Country’s First Marijuana Billboards In Seattle

Back in my day, the only billboards along the side of the road were for things like light beer, ambulance chasers, adult video stores, fast food and car dealerships. No longer will roadside advertising be limited to such things, as a new era of everyday legal marijuana use in Washington has made the country’s first cannabis billboards a reality. [More]

GEICO Spent Almost $1 Billion On Advertising Last Year

GEICO Spent Almost $1 Billion On Advertising Last Year

If it seems to you that Geico advertises during every program you watch on TV, you’re not wrong. The insurance company spent $935 million on ads last year, and there cannot possibly be anyone left in this country who doesn’t know how long it might take them to save 15% on car insurance. Can there? [More]

This screengrab from the company's website was used as evidence in the FTC's complaint.

You Can’t Sell “Made In The USA” Seals Without Checking That Products Live Up To That Label

As we’ve talked about in previous stories, while there are federal guidelines about what constitutes a “Made In America” product, manufacturers are operating on an honor system because it would be too onerous a task for the government to actually investigate every product claiming to be American-made. But if a company charges thousands of dollars for seals that indicate that a product’s Made In USA bona fides have been verified, it should actually be doing something to check those claims. [More]