Ask.com brings back the Unabomber

Unabomber
These days, it seems pretty risky to mentions any hot-button issues in ad campaigns. (Suicide and pillow fights, for example, are both taboo.) But apparently the Unabomber is a sufficiently cold-button issue. In one ad from its new outdoor teaser campaign, Ask.com mentions the madman who sent mail bombs to technologists. An unbranded billboard on the West Side Highway in New York reads, “The Unabomber hates the algorithm.” Other executions read, “The algorithm killed Jeeves” and “The algorithm is from Jersey.” (Ask’s algorithmic search technology was developed at Rutgers University.) Let’s not forget that Ted Kaczynski killed three and maimed 23. How much time has to pass before it’s safe to use killers as ad props? If the Unabomber is fair game, what about Ted Bundy?

—Posted by Brian Morrissey