CNN Removes ‘Squeezeback’ Ads From Ukraine Coverage Following Social Media Complaints

by Shelby Scott

The world has its eyes turned to the Russian invasion of Ukraine after air-raids began late last night. CNN, tasked with keeping information from the situation flowing, continues to face backlash after a “sqeezeback” ad ignited fury on social media.

Coverage of the event has featured countless scenes of Ukrainian air-raid sirens as they blare across television screens. During CNN’s live coverage Wednesday night, an Applebee’s squeezeback commercial interrupted the flow of information with images of dancing cowboys. Zac Brown Band’s hit song, “Chicken Fried,” added to the jarring disruption. After airing not one, but two, of these commercials amid the coverage, the network has removed sqeezeback ads from the air during the coverage.

CNN‘s squeezeback ads intend to keep viewers from changing the channel. They continue to relay uninterrupted news coverage amid even the jauntiest of Applebee’s commercials. Now though, the network might just have sacrificed the squeezeback ads a little too late.

Across social media, industry professionals and common Outsiders alike have blasted CNN. After two counts of these sqeezeback mishaps, CNN is likely to lose at least some viewers to other news networks.

In addition to the Applebee’s commercial, TV Line states the network also aired a less-than-ideal sqeezeback ad for Sandals resorts. As Russia began its invasion of Ukraine, the ad featured happy couples frolicking beneath a summer sun. Altogether, it has left a bad taste in more than a few Americans’ mouths.

In addressing Adweek/TVNewser, a WarnerMedia spokesperson confirmed, “Sqeezeback advertisements have been removed from the coverage.”

Social Media Unleashes On CNN

Despite that CNN has chosen to remove the squeezeback articles amid the coverage of the invasion, the damage is done. And, throughout the day Thursday, social media has continued to blast the network.

“Cutting away from air raid sirens in Kyiv for an Applebee’s commercial with a guy in jeans shaking his ass is certainly a choice, [CNN]. What sort of dystopian hell is this?” begged one viewer.

Another commented, “Cannot believe CNN just cut from mid-air raid siren to an Applebee’s commercial. Incredible metaphor.”

On and on, viewers fired criticisms of the news network. People even compared the jarring nature of the incident to the proceedings of the new year itself.

“CNN immediately cutting from a video of Ukrainians taking refuge in a subway station while using language about it resembling ‘the Blitz’ and then immediately cutting to a new, horrible, bro-country filled Applebee’s commercial featuring a bleak, empty Kyiv is peak 2022.”

Journalists, content creators, and other industry professionals shared their own criticisms.

Despite the backlash, the network has continued to cover the invasion, frequently sharing new updates as they come. Hopefully now, as CNN has removed the squeezeback ads, they’ll be able to regain their status as a reputable source of news.