CNN Placement of Applebee’s Commercial Faces Criticism Online

  • CNN showed an Applebee’s ad featuring the song “Chicken Fried” next to footage of Ukraine amid the Russian invasion.
  • Applebee’s paused advertising with CNN, and the network faced a host of criticism online.
  • You can get up to date on the crisis in Ukraine here

CNN faced a torrent of online criticism after layering an Applebee’s commercial featuring a dancing cowboy amid coverage of the Russian invasion in Ukraine.

“We are deeply concerned about the situation in Ukraine,” an Applebee’s spokesperson said in an email to Insider. “It should never have aired, and we are disappointed in the actions of the network.” 

Applebee’s paused advertising after learning about the ad placement.

The ad appeared next to the Kyiv footage through “picture in picture” format. Per screenshots of the moment shared online, CNN had played the Applebee’s ad in a larger screen, while a frozen picture of the previous air raid siren footage was in the left corner. 

The result was that the cheerful, nostalgic song “Chicken Fried,” by Zac Brown Band played right next to footage of Kyiv – which is currently being invaded by Russia

The ad also featured two women walking into an Applebee’s, shots of chicken and beer, and a dancing man in a cowboy hat. 

“WW3 sponsored by Applebees. We’re living in an episode of South Park,” one Twitter user commented over a video replay of the ad. 

Warner Media, which owns CNN, has removed “squeezeback” ads, which place advertisements atop other running content, a spokesperson told Insider.

Russian President Vladimir Putin swiftly invaded two separatists regions of Ukraine after declaring them independent states. The following day, he announced a “special military operation” in Ukraine, having since resulted in dozens killed, more than 150 injured, and fighting over regions

The invasion is ongoing.

Zac Brown Band did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

Follow Insider’s live coverage of the Russian invasion of Ukraine here

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