26 of the most hilarious, unfortunate online ad placements

Trump nasheedDigital Citizens AllianceAn unfortunately-placed Trump ad.

With programmatic advertising online, advertisers target specific demographics of people. They are not tied to particular pieces of content or certain locations.

Therefore, advertisers and publishers are not always aware of exactly what content the ad will be put around.

This can turn out to be disastrous, or just funny. Examples of ad misplacement range from Donald Trump ads next to pro-Isis videos, to beer ads next to stories about drunk driving.

These mistakes have the potential to be embarrassing or even damaging to the advertiser in question. We compiled 31 of the funniest, or most unfortunate ad placements of the digital era.

Mallory Russell compiled an earlier version of this report.

In 2012, this ad offering discount cruises appeared over a video of the sinking Costa Concordia.

Republicca TV/YouTube

While this ad for pastors unfortunately appeared over a video of a priest from London, who was accused of possessing child porn.


This year, a 'Vote Trump' ad ran beside a video displaying an ISIS flag.

Digital Citizens Alliance

While a pro-Clinton ad was played before a video by the 'al-Hayat Media Center' -- the media wing of ISIS.

Digital Citizens Alliance

Similarly, viewers of 'Great Nasheed 2015 Akhi Ablighmy brother inform my companions YouTube' were asked to donate to the Feel The Bern Committee.

Digital Citizens Alliance

Facebook has also had problems with ad misplacement. A promoted post for the video to 'Stacy's Mum,' a classic song about a teen being in love with their girlfriend's mum, appeared next to a real life example of it.


Just after a couple gets imprisoned for attempting to cremate their dead toddler is probably not the time to big up people who can grill like an expert.

Stories around babies can be difficult to advertise around, as this intrusive Medal of Honour video game ad proves.


This is even worse. News of Chile's earthquake was inappropriately interrupted by meteors from the ad for the movie '2012.'

This ad for Aflac, featuring a duck, looks like it must be deliberate.

La Quinta accidentally offered an explanation for this tragedy on AOL News.

Red Stripe's 'Hooray' definitely was not intended to cheer underage drinking.

When there is a crisis involving an oil spill, Deloitte would be wise to pull all ads referencing oil.

Toyota did not envisage being placed next to a story about a car crash on MSNBC when it asked 'Feeling trapped inside your old car?'

This story about faeces can't have helped sales of the chocolate beauty mask.

PutYourFeetup.com decided to advertise at an unfortunate time for feet.

This Folgers ad gives conflicting messages when next to a story about the beverage triggering heart attacks on Yahoo News.

This mix-up from way back in 2005 is one of the worst we have seen.

This ad for holidays in Greece appeared badly-timed next to a story in the Guardian about violent riots in the region.

Dominic Strauss-Khan appears to have his hair dyed by this ad.

McDonald's selling any size of soft drink for just $1 may be considered a potential cause of obesity.

Most people would probably pass on the free chance to get sick at Olive Garden.

This ad from 2012, for 'Man On A Ledge,' feels perfectly placed.

'Plunge' was a very unfortunate word to use in this ad.

It looks like AT&T planned this hilarious ad placement.

Something tells us this isn't the kind of delivery service that UPS wants to advertise.

Business Insider Emails & Alerts

Site highlights each day to your inbox.

Follow Business Insider Australia on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Instagram.