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Celebrity Death and Misfortune May Help Advertisers



It’s hard to believe that 2009 is finally coming to an end. As is always a very popular practice the media likes to take us on a stroll down Memory Lane but make sure we take a brief turn onto Morbid Court. Why? Because it is important to recap what celebrities either died or train-wrecked their lives in the past year. I admit that I read these lists more often than I should and often have the “I didn’t know they died!” moments which do literally nothing to make life better. They just happen.

So why not look at how advertisers may have or could have benefited from celebrity news that range from death to sordid trysts to you name it? Search Engine Watch has spoken to Blogads CEO Henry Copeland and came away with this

The sudden death of actress Brittany Murphy this week tied a morbid bow on a big 2009 trend — that of celebrities dying and falling from grace. According to Blogads CEO Henry Copeland, the unfortunate events provided advertisers on his network, at times, with a considerable amount of additional exposure at no cost.

At this point there are a million places to go with this one and most are not complimentary. I am going to stay on the purely business side of this one though which is sordid enough. Basically, there appears to be a little disappointment from CEO Copeland in the structure of the advertising world as agencies and red tape don’t allow for advertisers to fully take advantage of traffic spikes due to these ‘events’.

Though Copeland explained that his company could get campaigns “up and running in a matter of hours,” he said that Blogads didn’t receive any calls from marketers during the celebrity events. “Most major brand campaigns are planned weeks or months…ahead of time. So we haven’t had any ‘drive-by’ advertisers hop on a hot story.”

He continued, “We don’t anticipate this kind of demand going forward because of the way the ad agencies and their clients are structured… There’s just [too many] decision-makers and [too much] budgeting, time-lag, and iterative looping built into the process. A really agile and smart advertiser should jump into these stories; but the structure of the ad industry makes it almost impossible.”

Well, this just seems too good of an idea to pass up! I have the solution to this and I sure hope that no one takes this one and runs with it. I am going to hang out my shingle for my new ad agency called “Advertising Ambulance Chasers”. I think I will add the tag line: “We Get You There Even Before the Lawyers”.

I understand traffic is critical for advertisers but are we going to be heading down this road to make sure that we advertise around tragedy because its good business? I hope not. We can leave that to the cable news networks who don’t realize just how pathetic they look when they make all of their pretty graphics and pithy sayings around the major headlines of the day which are always about some form of pain and suffering. Maybe I am just being naive and it doesn’t really matter how you get the exposure just as long as you do. Imagine though, that people get used to your brand showing up around tragic events? Just seems odd to me.

As an advertiser or just an Internet marketer in general, what are your thoughts on trying to be ‘agile enough’ to advertise where the trouble is? Is this how you would like to have your brand known? Is there any potential harm in trying to be a morbidly opportunistic marketer?