Does thinking of cycling make you want to buy swimming trunks?

A lesson in how not to do online advertising, courtesy of the ITV website.

There I am, reading a story about the Tour de France. I get to this sentence:

[Bradley Wiggins has] hardly warranted a mention in the French papers: but I reckon a few sports editors might have to rethink that policy now.

The word sports is hot-linked.

Ah, perhaps a link to something more about the French papers? So I try to click on the link. Problem number one: nothing happens for (relatively speaking) a long time. Slowly, a graphical pop-up appears. It’s an advert.

Oh well. Mind you, I quite like relevant context sensitive adverts. So let’s take a look. What’s it for?

Problem number two: it’s for Speedo swimming trunks.

Now, even if we’re generous and assume this is a really careful piece of clever ad placing (and people who read about cycling online are particularly keen on buying swimming trunks in late July) rather than just a crude “Oooh! Sports! Let’s interrupt and talk about swimming!”,  there’s still the problem that it’s annoyed me by both hiding itself like a normal web link – and then not being related to the story. Not a good result.

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