So, it's not the most burning question in the year 2020, but it's out there nonetheless. "Why Is This Woman's Left Ass Cheek Following Me Around the Internet?" reads the headline at Vice above a story by Kate Dries. And Dries is not alone. It seems that an ad with a woman modeling pajamas that have a butt flap has been all over the place online in recent days. People are digging in:
- The ad: The one people are seeing the most is from a company called IVRose, reports Business Insider. (Headline: "The bizarre case of the sexy butt-flap onesie that has taken over the internet"). The brand has declined to comment about what's going on.
- The explosion: Dries writes that the ad has been around for a few weeks at least, and she even posted about it on Instagram last week. But people really started noticing it Monday because it showed up near a viral article about Martin Shkreli in Elle magazine.
- Big picture: The "butt-flap PJs managed to take over the internet through a combination of wonky brand safety measures, a few marketing strategies including provocative sexual imagery, and a good amount of luck," writes Kate Taylor of Business Insider, who spoke to several ad experts.
- One factor: The co-founder of brand safety company Check My Ads guessed that the Shkreli article was deemed "'unsafe by brand safety tech, and lower quality ads are being swapped in." That is, higher-quality brands that use tech to prevent their ads from being paired with iffy material avoided the Elle piece, thus opening the door for the PJs. This was overkill, Jammi wrote. "Brand safety tech is supposed to block you from *actual offensive/criminal content*, not a weirdo human interest piece in @ELLEmagazine."
- Luck: It's also possible that IVRose made a point to try to link its ads to viral articles, and it inadvertently hit the gold mine with the Shkreli piece, suggests Megan Graham at CNBC. Also, ads for goofy products proliferate, she notes. "At the end of the day, instead of just glazing over it, maybe we all just noticed it because there’s an exposed butt in it." She tried unsuccessfully to get Google to comment on whether a partially exposed butt would run afoul of policies on adult content.
- Wormhole: Dries at Vice points out a weirder complication: The photo in the ad for IVRose appears to come from an ad for PJs by a different company, Yandy.com, and the article digs into that as well. The working theory: "A woman posed for these photos for a manufacturer making clothing that several other internet clothing companies purchased. One bought up a ton of ad space this holiday season. That ad was served to me, and possibly you, in the hopes we would rock out with our butts out."
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