NYT Loves The Cocaine?

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And we have yet another example of the distance contextual advertising has to go. When a New York Times advertisement pops up above a guide to the Big Apple’s cocaine scene, there is clearly more work to be done – unless the NYT would actually endorse such a thing.

The ad is covered in a thick layer of irony, informing its target market that the Times is the "ultimate guide to global travel," advising on:

Where to Stay; Where to Eat; What to Do; When to Go

It appeared above an article posted on the travel section of GridSkipper.com, a Gawker Media site. The article was titled "New York Coke Bars."

If you’re the temperance-minded, you may already be wondering what’s wrong with Coca-Cola, or the soda-jerk joints that serve it. That association would be quickly displaced upon seeing the graphic accompanying the article featuring a mirror with a powder line and a rolled-up dollar bill. 

It becomes clear this is a guide to "some of the city’s favorite indoor skiing," sponsored by the New York Times. And if you, the cokehead reader, know any blow-friendly bars that Amanda Kludt, the writer of the piece, forgot to mention, be sure to let GridSkipper know.

Just make sure it hasn’t been mentioned in the comments section. Commentator "Wasp vs. Stryper" was appalled at the list’s incompleteness, reminding Kludt of The Annex, The Dark Room, 200 Orchard, 205, The Box, and Thor, all of which can be expected to be raided next week.

Regardless of the ironic hilarity of it, it seems doubtful that the NYT would openly endorse public cocaine use – unless there’s an editorial I’ve missed. The Village Voice, maybe, High Times, but the NY Times, established paper of record for the greatest city on Earth and most widely-respected news organization anywhere?

Though contextual advertising is most definitely the future in this industry, and a huge organization like the Times can absorb accidental associations, smaller, more sensitive advertisers would probably be quite upset having their priceless brand names associated with the urban nightclub drug subculture.

So, needless to say, but it’s going to be said anyway, artificial intelligence has a ways to go yet before it can recognize certain moral and cultural nuances with enough skill to choose which ads are appropriate. Google says they’ve gotten quite good at this.

Doubleclick, the digital advertiser the NYT went through for this placement, apparently has some problem solving to address – even if artificial intelligence is really, really hard. 

NYT Loves The Cocaine?
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  • incrediblehelp

    A travel ad on a travel website is how I see it.

  • Samantha

    Let’s be somewhat realistic. Many, many of the NYT readers (don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying the majority)go to these bars to unwind (or should I say get wound up)and do use cocaine. One fact that can’t be ignored is that cocaine is an upper middle to wealthy person’s drug and who reads the New York Times? Not the crack head or corner grocer in NY or any other city in this country. I am not condoning the activity at these bars but this article just informed many of us clueless “upper class” people about the existence of the list of bars. Next time I am in NY, maybe I’ll check one out! Beware of articles that you alert us to. Samantha/California

  • Beth Brooklyn

    cocaine is so 80’s.

    • http://hrajpokeronline.blogspot.com/ hraj poker

      Yup it is sooo old. There are some new on the scene.

  • http://greatbodies.blogspot.com/2007/11/drug-rehabilitation-through.html Adam Carter

    Have any of these places been closed down since the posting of this article? Its basically a treasure map for the police departments to go in and arrest the customers who are in the bathroom using cocaine. I can’t really see how the authorities could look at an article like this and not do something about it. And what about the owners of these establishments? I seriously doubt any of them want to be known as the "cool" place to go and snort coke in the bathroom at. It’s very bad for business.

  • http://songwritingtips.org/ How to Write a Song

    I dont think this article could close down any of the places.

  • http://www.proxy-uno.info/ Proxy Comm

    Now, why would anyone want to post an article like this? I bet the owners of those bars are pretty upset- although I doubt it will impact business…

  • http://www.pdfpal.net Tirizza Mae Boston

    I found out that cocaine is a stimulant of the central nervous system and a appetite suppressant which cause to addiction and lead to early death. I’ve seen this site www.pdfpal.net that tells many facts and ideas that cocain is a powerful addictive drug stimulant.

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