Verizon Ad Appears Next To Story About Death By Exploding Cellphone

This ad for Verizon cellphones is placed right next to an AP story about a South Korean man who may or may not have been killed by a cellphone exploding in his shirt pocket. Someone should invent a fancy technology that excludes advertisers from appearing next to articles when the name of their core product appears in editorial proximity with “death” or “exploding.”

Can You Hear Me Dying Now? [Copyranter]


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  1. hypnotik_jello says:

    At least it wasn’t an ad for an LG phone.

  2. JRuiz47 says:

    I have AdBlock enabled, could somebody tell me if the story about Sudanese protesters and the British teacher has an ad for the Build-A-Bear workshop?

  3. Jorel says:

    Ben, Google already has the technology you mention: “Sensitive content filters: At times, certain ads may not be appropriate to run on all pages. For example, Google automatically filters out ads that would be inappropriate on a news page about a catastrophic event.” []

  4. davebg5 says:

    @Jorel: Yep. I do software quality assurance testing for all of the ad sales systems for all of the digital properties owned by a MAJOR international media company.

    Advertisers frequently request that their ads not be placed on pages w/certain content…whether it be something that they deem to be offensive or close proximity to a competitor.

    The example above is nothing more than laziness and incompetence on the part of CNN’s traffic and delivery group.

  5. Nighthawke says:

    That’s a cold piece of work. The webmaster needs to be given a slap on the back for that.

  6. cryrevolution says:

    @Jorel: @davebg5: Sorry to burst your informative bubble, but I do believe Ben was trying to be sarcastic & witty. I’m pretty sure he knows that technology exists. But good information nonetheless!

  7. adm1978 says:

    @HYPNOTIK_JELLO: actually, it is an ad for LG phones. unless of course you’re being sarcastic, then ignore this comment altogether. ;)

  8. spinachdip says:

    This is still my favorite unfortunate contextual ad: []

  9. Falconfire says:

    I think the kicker is the cell phone never killed the guy, his buddy backing over him (and thus breaking the battery on the cellphone which THEN burst into flames) with a backhoe did the job.

    Big difference between itty bitty cellphone and 2 ton backhoe.

  10. plaincorgi says:

    the register has a funnier version of this. The phone in that advert is actually called the blast. []

  11. crimsonfury says:

    The article says he was a quarry worker, Its obvious it was most likely not a cellphone, but a blast cap that caused this mans death. It would easily fit in the shirt pocket, and is used with other explosives in quarry’s.

    Although i dont care for LG’s phones that much, blaming a melted phone with their logo on it for this mans death is crazy.

  12. Grrrrrrr, now with two buns made of bacon. says:

    Nice placement on the ad :P

    @Falconfire: Yeah, I’d put my money on the backhoe.

    When I initially read that article, I found it hard to believe that a battery of that size could generate sufficient explosive force to break the man’s ribs. Would it catch on fire and go off like an M-80? Possibly, but you’d need one hell of a blast to fracture ribs.

    Besides, I think if the batter in your cell decided to short, your shirt pocket catching on fire might cause you to do something about it before it exploded.

  13. Fizzle000 says:

    The ads served are chosen by dumb computer algorythms, not dumb people. Ads that are displayed are relevant
    to keywords in the content of the story. The idea behind this is if you were
    already looking for the subject matter then you would be way more likely
    to click the link shown and earn pay-per-click revenue for the company serving
    the ads.