Tuesday, August 12, 2003

ABC News Ad Is Cruelly Relevant

Google, Yahoo and everyone else are racing to see who can do the best job of delivering "relevant" advertisements, sometimes with funny results.

Recently a pair of college students disappeared. The young Michigan couple was supposed to meet one set of parents in Maine after a stay on Cape Cod. Instead, they vanished. Their credit cards and cell phones abruptly stopped showing activity. Police in two states started a massive missing persons search. Both sets of parents were distraught, wondering if their kids were even still alive.

The couple turned up in Florida when a cop ran a routine license plate check. It's still not clear why the young folks did this. The relatives were relieved -- but puzzled and upset.

Here's how ABC News' online site began the story. Note the embedded advertisement: