...well not google exactly, but the associated adwords servers. When I worked at the ASA, one of things we forgave advertisers for was unintended and accidental ad placement. For example, ads booked in long-lead magazines which happened to co-incide with some nasty piece of news. Fashion ads featuring guns appearing at the same time as the Dunblane massacre, for example.
Others were just insensitive - Littlewoods Pools taking a billboard in Liverpool which showed a football crowd singing "you'll never work again", which happened to be by the docks just as hundreds of Liverpool dockers were being made redundant.
But last week's advertising mix-ups on gonetoosoon had me laughing for all the wrong reasons. Metro reported a couple of examples which this weeks' Observer highlighted:
an online memorial for a boy called Ryan featured an advert for Ryanair. Another, for a woman called Sheila, linked to Sheila's Wheels car insurance. A person called Watts was linked to an ad for light bulbs. A tribute to a boy killed in a motorcycle accident carried an ad for a new motorbike while memorials for babies had promotions for nappies and prams.Or, as gonetosoon then put it:
All of the adverts shown were chosen by Google's computers rather than people. This turned out to be somewhat inappropriate and was quickly removed.Bad PR all round...