Google Allows Ads Mocking Suicide

Posted on October 10th, 2008 at 3:40 pm by Michael VanDeMar under blogthropology, Google, lackofmeds, On The Ball-ness, psychoblogging, Social Media

Google jumper During the Great Depression, the suicide rate jumped over 21.4%. It was a sad time for all, and the unemployment rate skyrocketed. Many people lost their homes and farms. The shame of not being able to provide for their families was simply too much for some. Last June, “Good Morning America” did a segment titled “Recession Depression”, where reporter Chris Cuomo drew analogies between the events back then and our current financial crisis, warning that we could possibly see similar psychological impacts with todays economy:

The link between financial troubles and psychological problems is well documented. In the U.S. the seminal example is the Great Depression, when the suicide rate jumped from 14 to 17 for every 100,000 Americans. And today, with the threat of recession looming large, the price we pay physically may skyrocket as well. – Chris Cuomo

The Great Depression certainly wasn’t a funny time in our history, and the current financial market really isn’t a laughing matter either. While we aren’t quite as bad (not yet, anyways) as we were back then, if things did get to the point where people started killing themselves due to their circumstances I hardly think it would be something we should joke about in the mainstream media. However, one company, Woot.com, apparently thinks it is.

I was performing my daily search to see how bad Google (NASDAQ: GOOG) was doing. As others have noted, they aren’t doing so hot. This I pretty much expected. What I didn’t expect was the AdSense ad making fun of the situation off to the right:

Before you jump out that window, why not spend your last remaining dollars at Woot?
(Click to enlarge.)

The ad reads, “Before you jump out that window, why not spend your last remaining dollars at Woot?” Considering that the ad is showing on a stock quote search, there is no room for mistaking their message. Pretty fucking tacky, Woot. Don’t get me wrong, it is funny… but really not appropriate advertising for mainstream media. Considering all the press Google has gotten in the past for accidental inappropriate ads (like like Ebay selling Black People, and low prices on Child Brides at Amazon.com), I’m surprised that they are letting something like this slide.

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6 Responses to “Google Allows Ads Mocking Suicide”

  1. Ian Says:

    Good find :P

    That seems pretty low though, but the sad matter of the fact is, that its true, and maybe if the current financial crisis continues, it’ll become even more realistic.

  2. Daniel Says:

    You may want to check history again. Yes, suicides were up during the great depression but none of them were from stock brokers jumping out of skyscrapers. That has been proven time and again to be a myth. Seems like woot might be playing off that old wive’s tale since they didnt say “before you kill yourself” or “before you slit your wrists”. If anything, we need some comic relief right now, not more dramatic over-reacting.

  3. Michael VanDeMar Says:
    If anything, we need some comic relief right now, not more dramatic over-reacting.

    I already said I thought it was funny. I’m a twisted kind of guy. But it should be in the appropriate venue. There is no “adult filter” for AdSense ads. Do you think that would be an appropriate ad, for instance, on prime time tv?

    Interesting side point on the jumpers, I didn’t know that. The main point of the post still stands though.

    Btw, it looks like Google did pull the ads on Friday, a few hours after I posted. I didn’t realize that Techcrunch had done a story as well. Google probably got worried that the mainstream media might start reporting on it.

  4. Duarte Canario Says:

    Do you know when had an AdWords Management overdose?
    When you look at that ad and the first thing you think is:

    “What are these guys doing?! You cant continue a sentence from the Title to the Description Lines!”

  5. Sam Freedom's Internet Marketing Controversy Blog Says:

    I think you’ve just earned yourself a backlink buddy. That was some funny sh*t… survival of the fittest bro.

  6. geld lenen Says:

    Maybe the ad campaign should rather tell people the store has got low prices (or something like that). Making fun of other people’s bad financial situation isn’t very sophisticated is it?

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