MSN Squashes Controversial Blog Banner Campaign

Written on
Dec 20, 2006 
Sarah Novotny  |

MSN put the breaks on a racy banner ad campaign for produced by Control Room, a company that promotes MSN’s on-demand music concerts. “See the Real Pink!” said one of the ads touting an online concert by the recording artist Pink, referring to a paparazzi incident in which Britney Spears was photographed not wearing underwear.

Control Room planned to run the ads on several celebrity gossip blogs, some of which also post celebrity paparazzi shots, including the notorious Britney pic. But as soon as MSN got wind of it, it pulled the plug. “Microsoft had no knowledge of Control Room’s Pink concert advertising campaign,” said Rob Bennett, MSN’s general manager of entertainment and video in a statement. “The reported ad campaign is counter to MSN’s brand identity, and we are happy Control Room has pulled them.”

MSN is still hosting the concert today in the MSN music section, but all of Control Room’s banners have been purged from the Web.

The campaign also promoted the fact that the concert was sponsored by Ford, who was also not pleased with the mental imagery, according to Advertising Age. Ford, like MSN, had nothing to do with it.

Meanwhile, Control Room creative director Jonathan Anastas says the ads would’ve been “very appropriate” for the audiences of the gossip blogs.

Sarah Novotny is a contributing editor at Adotas. Sarah grew up in San Jose, California. Her educational and professional career have taken her to both Los Angeles and New York City where she received a B.F.A. from NYU. As a writer, Sarah has free-lanced for various publications focusing primarily on traditional advertising and media reviews. When not writing and editing for Adotas, Sarah is continuing her acting career in various theatrical and film/television productions.

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