Advertisers Flee Adjacency To COVID-Related Stories

The New York Times reports:

To stay away from bad news, advertisers often turn to a method known as blacklisting. It allows airlines to avoid running ads near plane-crash coverage, and companies with wholesome images to keep away from articles containing words like “murder” or “sex.” In a time of political polarization, frequently blacklisted terms include “Russia,” “impeach” and, among the most avoided, “Trump.”

Lately, the most-blocked terms pertain to the virus. Blacklisting during the pandemic has kept more than 1.3 billion ads from being displayed next to content featuring the word “coronavirus” on websites, according to the ad verification firm Integral Ad Science. That has had a devastating effect on ad-dependent news organizations, many of which have been forced to lay off workers at a time when the pandemic has dominated coverage.

The story notes that one notable exception has been Burger King, which is targeting COVID-related stories with recruitment ads and ads about their “contactless delivery.” The above also explains why you’re seeing so many “filler” ads and PSAs here on JMG lately.