Sunday, June 1, 2008

Universal Studios Hollywood - bad timing for ad

So at this point, the fire on the Universal Studios Hollywood backlot has been raging for about 12 hours. I'd been watching and listening to updates this morning, and then we were away from a radio starting at about 11:30am. At that time, they were saying that the theme park was expected to open at noon, that the fire had been contained, and that they expected to have the fire out shortly. We got back in the car at about 3pm, and I figured I'd hear about the mop-up and whether they had any info about what started the fire. (I'm no fire investigator, but an explosion on New York Street at 4:30 in the morning when no filming is going on sure sounds suspicious to me.)

But no, they're still talking about the *on-going* fire and that the theme park never actually opened because of the continuing fire. Wow, 3 hours later, and the fire is still going on? And then the on-air reporter is talking to someone from the fire department and asks about the explosion around 2:45, and I think, no wait, the fire started around 4:30, not 2:45, and then I hear the reporter finish with "this afternoon". What? That would have just been about 20 minutes prior. What frickin' explosion? So they went on to talk about/explain that. They weren't giving very good updates, and I wondered if the fire had jumped to another building. Three blocks of New York Street and the stage with the King Kong attraction had already been destroyed, and the fire had jumped to another building that had turned out to be a video vault.

Eventually, I figured out that the fire hadn't jumped to yet another building, but that it was still the video vault that was burning. I thought it would have burned through that entire building after that many hours, so I was surprised, but relieved, to hear that it was still the same building.

When we got home, I turned on the TV, but there was no coverage on any of the channels. We had been watching Channel 11 in Los Angeles earlier in the day, so I went to their website, figuring they'd have current information, and as expected, the Universal Studios Hollywood fire is front and center on the main page. Unfortunately for Universal, they apparently had bought ad space on MyFoxLA, because an ad for the theme park sits prominently in the middle of the page - right above all the headlines about the Universal fire.

Here's a screen shot of the main page of the site.

If you click on the link to get to the article itself, the ad is still there on the page with the article.

And if you scroll down to read the rest of the story, you get more links to other stories and pictures and videos of the fire - as well as another ad for Universal Studios Hollywood.

What an unfortunate coincidence of advertising dollars spent.

Hopefully, the firefighters will be able to put the fire out soon, with no more additional damage to the backlot and no more injuries to firefighters and other rescue personnel.

1 comment:

JeffG said...

I wonder if they are using Google AdSense or another similar ad service that tries to pick out relevant ads by looking for keywords in the text on a page. Those systems tend to be completely automated and can sometimes have the unfortunate result of serving up ads that aren't entirely appropriate when placed alongside less than positive stories like that.

The origins of the fire still haven't been made public (at least as far as I know), but the explosions apparently resulted from there being a number of propane tanks in the affected area.

I was home pretty much all afternoon while my wife took our son to a friend's birthday party, so I ended up basically sitting around reading and watching too much news coverage on this...