‘We’re living in an episode of South Park,’ commented one social media user.
Applebee’s condemned CNN for airing an ad for their restaurant amid dramatic footage of air raid sirens sounding in Ukraine.
The foolish ad placement happened Wednesday as CNN covered the Russian advancement into the region, with footage showing a camera panning left to right across the capital city of Kiev as air raid sirens went off.
The network then abruptly went to commercial with their coverage shrinking to picture-in-picture format, while an Applebee’s ad aired.
The ad featured the country music song, “Chicken Fried,” by the Zac Brown Band, and showed people walking into Applebee’s, cold beer, and a cowboy dancing.
Social media users claimed the ad made it appear as though Applebee’s sponsored the Russian invasion.
Speaking to Ad Age, an Applebee’s spokesperson said they’ve pulled ads from the network in the meantime and condemned CNN’s actions.
“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. It never should have aired, and we are disappointed in the actions of the network,” the spokesperson said, adding the company is “deeply concerned about the situation in Ukraine.”
A CNN spokesman confirmed to Ad Age that picture-in-picture “advertisements have been removed from the coverage.”
“The scene illustrated the unintended consequences of airing split-screen ads during a global crisis, and many viewers took notice,” Ad Age noted.