As hurricane Dorian, a terrifying cat 5, pummeled the Abaco and Grand Bahama islands in the Bahamas people searched social media for news. Unfortunately for brands, that's when their ads appeared as promoted tweets in their feed.
Now, we all know that "programmatic buying" as someone dubbed it means that nobody actually placed this ad in this poor context - but it doesn't matter to the viewer at all. Having Coke cheerfully talking about waves when your searching for news about the islands that were literally underwater due to Dorian, is quite distasteful. "Anytime is the best time to start a wave" No, chief, this ain't it.
Island-inspired tweets ready to be promoted when people are talking about the beautiful tropical islands don't look so great right now either. All we need is a bathing suit and floaties? The international airport on Grand Bahama in the Bahamas and many communities and towns were literally submerged. We're going to need more than floaties, Hilton.
Once again, we know that these ads aren't planned to show up between tweets showing extremely dramatic news regarding hurricane Dorian, but they are targeted by geography and keywords same as always, you would think that advertisers knew to have a "shut it down" button ready for emergency situations like this by now.
I'll leave you with this one, perhaps not the worst of ads, but then you might remember that there's a couple of Bacardi Distilleries in the Bahamas.
If you want to help the people of the Bahamas, early relief efforts are deployed by International medical corps and the Bahamas redcross are asking people to donate non-perishable goods, baby supplies, bedding, and cleaning items for them to distribute to the areas most affected by Hurricane Dorian using the hashtag #HelpUsHelp. Donating to Team Rubicon will help as they are an international disaster relief nonprofit organization made up of military veterans and first responders, they can help with anything from rebuilding houses to clearing debris and helping organize large groups of volunteers. They went to the Bahamas early to help put up sandbags and board up windows, so they already have people in the country.