CNN Pulls Ad Unit That Inappropriately Ran Alongside Ukraine Crisis Coverage

CNN Ukraine Applebees Ads

After getting chided on Thursday for running lighthearted spots for Applebee’s and other advertisers right alongside its coverage of the Russia-Ukraine conflict, CNN has removed the ad unit from such news programming.

As seen in one example below (shared on Twitter), the stark visual of air raid sirens bellowing across Kyiv is abruptly accompanied by a jaunty Applebee’s spot that squeezes into the same frame to tout hot wings, cold beers and a twerking cowboy.

In another instance, CNN’s coverage of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, which began in the wee hours of Thursday morning, winds up sharing the screen with couples frolicking under the sun at Sandals resorts — as the lyrics to Bob Marley’s “Everything’s Gonna Be Alright” lilt over the scene.

These “squeezeback” ad units that prevent programming from being fully interrupted by a commercial are intended to keep viewers from changing the channel, Adweek explains.

But for the time being at least, CNN will cut back the squeezebacks.

A spokerson for WarnerMedia, which owns CNN, said in a statement to Adweek/TVNewser, “Squeezeback advertisements have been removed from the coverage.”