Gunning For Ad Dollars
The article is headlined: "Mental-health services offered locally for youth." The lede states that there has been an increased focus on childhood mental health since the Newtown, Connecticut school shooting.
It's a well-written article but...
While reading the article on my tablet, accessing the Press-Republican's mobile Website, I notice an ad directly above the headline promoting a "Bedside Shotgun Rack - There When You Need It."
The link takes you to the-backup.com page featuring a photo of the rack in position between the mattress and foundation, someone lifting up a shotgun from the side of his bed.
I do notice that there's no blanket in the way. Of course, for illustrative purposes, the viewer has to clearly see how the rack works. But I would suspect that normally the shotgun-in-rack would be buried under a draping blanket, especially during the cold winter months. Such a situation could lead to a slow response, maybe even a misfiring if the half-awake shooter got tangled up in his sheets.
But we shouldn't worry because the Backup site states: "The bedside gun rack is the safest and most effective way to protect your home and family from an unwanted intruder."
It's safer than placing the shotgun under your bed, the ad points out. Indeed. But what about the loaded weapon hanging on one side of the bed where someone could accidentally bump into it without thinking? An amorous couple could go out with a bang in more ways than one.
The ad sums up with these words:
"A shotgun sprays its ammunitions so you don’t need a great shot to get the job done and it doesn’t pierce walls. $39.95 is priceless when it comes to protecting your family."
All this from clicking on a link in an article about mental health services being utilized to prevent another tragic school shooting.
Yes, advertising is the lifeblood of a newspaper. But instead of letting its sites being auto-filled with any ad out there, the PR should screen ads.
And maybe there's the algorithm problem, contextual advertising automatically generated by article keywords. So the word "shooting" triggers a bedside shotgun rack link to fill in the ad spot. If that's the case, the PR better find a better ad agency or end up with more dubious article-ad match-ups. Imagine what would happen if an article mentions a "rump parliament..."