(pjseeger)

Utah Restaurant Owner Removes Over-Sized Genitalia From Bull Sign After Uproar

The owner of a steakhouse who added an extra-large genital enhancement to the bull on the restaurant’s sign says he’s removing the nether bits that caused a slew of complaints from residents, but he’s not doing it because of the controversy. [More]

How McDonald’s Markets To Kids Through Moms & Teachers

How McDonald’s Markets To Kids Through Moms & Teachers

McDonald’s has long been a target of critics of toy-filled Happy Meals who believe that these menu offerings are used to entice kids to eat fast food. The same goes with people who call for the retirement of Ronald McDonald (though one could argue that having a terrifying perma-grin clown as the face of your company isn’t exactly kid-friendly). But McDonald’s kid-targeted marketing doesn’t rely on Happy Meals; it extends into their schools and maybe even to their homes. [More]

FTC Chair Edith Ramirez Talks Privacy, Data Security

FTC Chair Edith Ramirez Talks Privacy, Data Security

You may now be able to change your thermostat from another continent, your fridge might know when you need to buy more eggs, and your connected TV recommends shows and movies. But is your data being used for things other than keeping your house warm, your eggs in stock, and your kids entertained — and, just as importantly — is it secure? [More]

The Federal Trade Commission says that DirecTV is deceiving consumers by failing to adequately disclose how much these promotional prices will increase after 12 months, that subscribers face hefty early cancellation fees, and that they may be automatically subscribed to expensive premium channels after three months.

Government Accuses DirecTV Of Deceptive Advertising

While DirecTV may make people laugh (or cringe) with its multiple Rob Lowe ads, the thing that matters to many people when choosing between cable and satellite is price. But a new Federal Trade Commission complaint filed against the nation’s second-largest pay-TV service alleges that DirecTV is tricking consumers into believing they’re getting a better deal than they end up with. [More]

Montel Williams-Endorsed MoneyMutual To Pay $2.1M Penalty

Montel Williams-Endorsed MoneyMutual To Pay $2.1M Penalty

For years, TV personality Montel Williams has been the daytime TV face of payday loan lead generation service MoneyMutual, even as it faced investigations from federal and state agencies. Just a few days ago, Montel got into a Twitter spat with a woman who questioned why he was acting as a spokesperson the company, and showed that maybe he needed a refresher course on annual percentage rates. But as part of a deal with regulators in New York state, Montel will no longer market payday loans in the state and MoneyMutual will pay a $2.1 million penalty to settle allegations that it illegally marketed payday loans to New York residents. [More]

Coca-Cola Pulls Fanta Ad Suggesting Nazi Germany Was “Good Old Times”

Coca-Cola Pulls Fanta Ad Suggesting Nazi Germany Was “Good Old Times”

In a recent video recounting the birth of Fanta soft drinks, Coca-Cola explains that its German operation had trouble getting cola-making ingredients to the country’s bottling plants 75 years ago, leading the bottlers to dream up a beverage they could make without Coca-Cola syrup. Perhaps Coke was hoping people wouldn’t do the math and realize that the reason for the syrup scarcity had a little something to do with the Nazis. [More]

The tweet that has since been deleted. (@JetBlue)

JetBlue Realizes Pun Referencing Large Flying Machines Falling From The Sky Is Not The Best Idea

JetBlue is busy apologizing on Twitter for a now-deleted and ill-advised Tweet that made a bad pun referencing the Hindenburg Disaster. Too soon, perhaps, but also, reminding people of the time a flying machine crashed isn’t the best way to instill confidence in your own flying machines. Just sayin’. [More]

In addition to the many, many ads for Comcast during the hour-long video, the company is a named sponsor on the video's title cards.

Detroit Business Owner Unhappy To Be Featured In “Bullsh*t Comcast-Powered Sh*tfest” Video

Imagine you own a business that’s gotten some good press for the work you do. Now imagine finding some of that press repurposed into a video sponsored by a company that you really, really dislike, and which is trying to spend billions of dollars to dump your entire area off into the hands of a brand new company that may be even worse. [More]

(photographybynatalia)

LinkedIn Ads Will Now Follow You Around The Web. Here’s How To Opt Out

Because we can’t go anywhere online without some social network tracking our data and using it to cash in on targeted advertising, LinkedIn has created its own online ad network that will allow advertisers to follow you around the web based on the information that LinkedIn knows about you. [More]

(Eric Spiegal)

Cable Channels Speed Up TV Shows To Cram In More Ads

Anyone who’s watched a syndicated TV show on basic cable is already familiar with some methods of trimming the fat off of shows — shorter opening credits, sped-up closing credits that may overlap on-screen ads or the next show — but what you may not have noticed is that some cable networks are actually speeding up shows and movies to squeeze in more commercials. [More]

McDonald’s “Pay With Lovin'” Campaign Doesn’t Result In Any Actual Love For Company

McDonald’s “Pay With Lovin'” Campaign Doesn’t Result In Any Actual Love For Company

Nearly four months ago, when we first got hints that McDonald’s was going to be making a Super Bowl-centered campaign about how “lovin’ is better than hatin'” and other folksiness, we predicted it wouldn’t exactly be well received by consumers. And when it finally rolled out the “Pay with lovin'” campaign, our opinion didn’t really change. Now that this brief, G-droppin’ period has passed, it doesn’t look like people have anymore love for McDonald’s than they did a few months ago. [More]

If you can take your eyes away from the dreamy visage of Shervin Pishevar for a second, you'll notice that little black box on the right hand side touting content paid for by Fidelity without disclosing that it's actually an ad.

Forbes Now Including Advertiser-Created Content On Front Cover Of Magazine

If you thought the demon who goes by many names — native advertising, advertorials, sponsored stories, promoted content, utter bullsh*t — was something that was relegated to the Internet, then go check out the new issue of Forbes, which not only comes complete with some of this bought-and-paid-for crap, but which actually lists it on the front cover of the magazine like it’s just another story. [More]

(mslavick)

Feds Warn That Claims Of Biodegradable Dog Poop Bags May Be Full Of… You Know

While some dog owners stick to tried-and-true methods of picking up their canine pals’ waste with the aid of plastic shopping bags, that’s a lot of plastic going into landfills. This is why there are several companies selling poo-collection bags labeled “biodegradable” or “compostable.” But the Federal Trade Commission is warning a number of the companies that make and market these products that they may be running afoul of laws against deceptive advertising. [More]

Ad Watchdog Group To Comcast: Stop Saying Stuff That Isn’t True In Your Ads

Ad Watchdog Group To Comcast: Stop Saying Stuff That Isn’t True In Your Ads

Comcast, like every other company on earth, likes to advertise about how great they are. They run commercials all over about how their internet is better, faster, stronger than the next guy’s. Except, a business group that checks in on badvertising says, Comcast isn’t really as great as Comcast claims it is, and needs to tone it down a bit. [More]

Wait — What Did The Guy In This FarmersOnly.com Ad Just Say?

Wait — What Did The Guy In This FarmersOnly.com Ad Just Say?

If you’re a fan of basic cable, you’ve most likely seen any number of the many ads for FarmersOnly.com, the online dating site targeting rural Americans. The ad’s recent slate of commercials are more professional-looking than some of the bottom-dollar spots that first got that darn jingle stuck in our heads, but there’s one new-ish ad that we had to rewind a few times just to make sure we heard it correctly. [More]

Conde Nast Proudly Using Editors To Write Sponsored Content For Advertisers

Conde Nast Proudly Using Editors To Write Sponsored Content For Advertisers

For quite some time, we’ve been telling you about a particularly pernicious evil that goes by various names — advertorial content, native advertising, brand reporting, branded content, sponsored stories, pure crap — that a growing number of websites have tried to slip past their readers as actual editorial content. The most ethical sites take measures to call these stories out as being bought and paid for, and many sites refuse to taint their editorial process by allowing their staffers to work on this nonsense. But Conde Nast has decided that the best way to use its highly qualified and talented staff is to have them writing shill content for advertisers. [More]

McDonald’s “Signs” Commercial: Heartwarming Message Or Crass Cash-In?

McDonald’s “Signs” Commercial: Heartwarming Message Or Crass Cash-In?

Over the weekend, McDonald’s extended its latest “lovin'” campaign with a new ad featuring a series of McDonald’s restaurant signs bearing messages about everything from natural disasters to the Boston Marathon killings to birthday greetings. Some viewers had their hearts warmed by the reminders that local fast food franchises can spread messages of more than just Happy Meals, while other viewers were less won-over, viewing the ad as a crass way for McDonald’s to attach itself to national tragedies. [More]

(New England Brewing Company)

Brewery: Sorry We Put A Gandhi Robot On A Beer Label

In yet another example of companies seemingly unaware that using a culture/religion’s symbols to peddle a product is likely to cause controversy whether the intentions were ill or not, a United States brewery is busy apologizing to anyone offended by a Gandhi robot on its beer labels. [More]