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How can brands respond to political and social issues responsibly?

Grace Farag

May 04, 2022

The recent kerfuffle over the exceedingly unfortunate CNN cutaway to an Applebee’s ad featuring a dancing cowboy, which aired right next to footage of war-torn Kyiv, is just the latest example of ads behaving badly -- but in this case, it wasn’t entirely the ad’s fault. Unlike spots that have been criticized for being out of touch or in poor taste (Pepsi’s Kendall Jenner ad, we’re looking at you), the ad itself wasn’t the problem so much as the terrible timing of its placement.

In any case, this incident is yet another reminder that in today’s light-speed media world, brands need to be hyper-attuned to current events and accompanying sensitivities. Brands also need to be prepared to review in-market ads promptly, pull potentially problematic content if possible, and consult with a trusted PR agency before making public statements on any platform.

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