It seems that Applebee’s is aware no one wants to be eatin’ good in the neighborhood while they’re trying to digest an international crisis.
A very silly commercial by the popular restaurant chain aired alongside CNN’s bleak coverage of the Russian invasion of Ukraine on Thursday, which created a cutaway so jarring that a clip of the moment has now gone viral.
Applebee’s has told several news outlets that it is “disappointed” the network transitioned from footage of air raid sirens blasting throughout Kyiv to their lighthearted ad featuring frothy beer and a man in a cowboy hat shaking his butt to Zac Brown Band’s “Chicken Fried.”
“We are deeply concerned about the situation in Ukraine,” Applebee’s said in its statement. “When we were made aware that our ad was placed in this manner, we immediately reached out to CNN to pause our advertising on their network. It never should have aired, and we are disappointed in the actions of the network.” HuffPost reached out to CNN for comment but did receive an immediate response.
What made the moment even more inappropriate and yet unintentionally amusing was that the entire time the ad played it was on a split screen with the Ukraine footage in a small box on the left with a headline reading, “Russia Invades Ukraine.”
This split-screen setup, in which content and a commercial are playing simultaneously, is called a “squeezeback” ad. A spokesperson for WarnerMedia, which owns CNN, told HuffPost via email that “squeezeback advertisements have been removed from the coverage.”
Folks on Twitter couldn’t help but poke fun at the hiccup.
One Twitter user even pointed out how the lyrics of “Chicken Fried” made the moment even more ridiculous.
News broke late Wednesday that Russian President Vladimir Putin was carrying out a long-feared invasion of the former Soviet republic. Reports of the international crisis Thursday include horrifying details about the wide-ranging attacks that left destruction and deaths in their wake, including video footage of Ukrainian civilians in Kharkiv sheltering in subway stations during airstrikes.