CNN is facing a wrath of criticism on Twitter after its coverage of Russia's invasion into Ukraine saw ad Applebee's ad inserted amidst the reporting. CNN's live coverage of the Russia's invasion in Ukraine on Thursday showed air raid sirens blaring in Ukraine’s capital Kyiv when the screen transitioned into a spit screen format to air an ad for Applebee's. The ad, played to the jingle Chicken Fried by Zac Brown Brand, was played on a larger screen, while the still of the air raid footage remained in the left corner.
According to media reports, Applebee's has since suspended its ads on the network. In a statement to Forbes, Applebee’s said it has suspended the ads on the network. “When we were made aware that our ad was placed in this manner, we immediately reached out to CNN to pause our advertising on their network,” Applebee’s said in the statement. “It never should have aired, and we are disappointed in the actions of the network.”
It added, “We are deeply concerned about the situation in Ukraine.” However, the damage online was done as Applebee's got dragged into the conversation nonetheless.
Among them was Scott Whitlock, research director at the Media Research Centre in the US, called out on CNN for its lack of tone and tact. "Your blending of commercials and all hell breaking out in Europe isn't working," he tweeted.
One netizen commented how the US should feel ashamed for letting this happen. Meanwhile, a few mocked the ad placement, saying that the invasion was "sponsored by Applebee's".
Some netizens tweeted how the ad placement felt more tactless as the ad went on to show a man dancing next to the still of the Ukraine air raid. One netizen even posted a meme on how Applebee's would have reacted to seeing its ad run on CNN.
Additionally, CNN had also aired an ad for Sandals Resorts that played with Bob Marley's Three Little Birds in the background, which included the lyrics "Don't worry 'bout a thing...every little thing is gonna be all right".
According to Huffpost, CNN has since said that it would remove ads from its Russia-Ukraine news coverage. MARKETING-INTERACTIVE has reached out to CNN, Applebee's and Sandals Resorts for comments.
On Wednesday, news broke that Russian President Vladimir Putin was carrying out an invasion into Ukraine, which is a former Soviet republic. According to latest reports, Russia has also fired missiles at several cities in Ukraine and landed troops on its south coast as of 24 February and President Vladimir Putin reportedly authorised what he called a special military operation in the east.