Traditionally prudish brands — think American Express — are putting their ads on the kind of celebrity gossip sites that sometimes run barely blurred photos of naked celebrities, reports a shocked AdWeek. We followed their wide-eyed tour and discovered:
- HSBC, Virgin America (heh) and American Express all ran banners on WWTDD.com “within clicking distance” of thumbnail nude photos of High School Musical star Vanessa Hudgens.
- Days Inn, Samsung, and T-Mobile ads run on Egotastic — see banner ad on screenshot, right — which claims to report on the “The Sexy Side of Celebrity.” The site’s current top story is: Jessica Gomes Topless Pictures from GQ Italy.
- Packaged goods giant Procter & Gamble ran Tide, Cover Girl and Herbal Essences preroll ads against a TMZ.com video in which Playboy model Kendra Wilkinson flashes paparrazi. We found that Blackberry ad that’s running everywhere else too.
- Wal-Mart and Verizon also advertise on TMZ.com.
- Ad network BlogAds sells PerezHilton.com inventory to chilli’s, Samsung, and Microsoft.
AdWeek wonders if these brands know their products are showing up on these kinds of sites, or if ad networks are slipping them in through back channels. But David Goodrich, a VP at Universal McCann, says no, it’s mostly on purpose. These sites are where the kids are at, he says.
“Overall, I see them as being very viable because the eyeballs have moved there and they are very powerful,” said Goodrich. “These sites know how to border the grey area and not turn into full-fledged porn sites.”
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