Control Room’s Risque Online Ad Campaign Raises Eyebrows; Ford, MSN Music Reverb?

Updated to include statements from Control Room and MSN: Controversy and bawdy ads may raise consciousness but they aren’t always welcome by sponsors. The AdAge headline hammers home the problem: “Ford Denies Connection to Web-Concert Porno Promo.” Turns out it refers to Control Room’s plans to promote a Dec. 19 concert by Pink on MSN Music. The gist of the story: the company formerly known as Network Live is placing ads on tabloid-ish sites that “purportedly” feature pictures of celeb’s usually private parts. The banners have headlines like “Don’t you and your hands have better places to be,” and “See the real Pink.” The performer has a single called “U and UR Hand.” Ford is a presenting sponsor but isn’t involved in the campaign. Nonetheless, AdAge sees the connection and reports that Ford is “looking into it.” A Ford spokesperson: “Ford knew nothing about this. We would never be involved in this kind of activity and we are currently investigating the situation thoroughly to determine exactly what the facts are.” Meanwhile, a concert that would be a shrug for many gets some extra attention, which is the definition of marketing, although the target audience skews far belowe AdAge.
Update: Control Room is pulling the campaign, which had yet to start, after determining that “the intended placement of certain online ads planned by our marketing department would have been inappropriate given the content on, and context of, the targeted sites … such advertising tactics are not consistent with our vision or marketing practices.”” The statement comes via Edelmen.
Update II: And this from MSN’s Rob Bennett: “Microsoft had no knowledge of Control Room