Disturbed’s animated ad featuring reporters being fatally shot on live television has been pulled by Warner Bros. following Wednesday’s on-air shooting on Roanoke, Va.’s WDBJ7-TV.
The advertisement promoting the band’s new album Immortalized includes clips from Disturbed’s music video for “The Vengeful One,“ which depicts a ghostly figure shooting several television anchors in the middle of a live broadcast.
The eerie parallels between the ad and the real-life murders of WDBJ7-TV’s reporters, Alison Parker, 24, and Adam Ward, 27, who were shot by a former co-worker, Vester Flanagan, 41, during an on-air report Wednesday, prompted Warner Bros. to remove the ad that played before news videos online.
Gogi Gupta, whose online marketing agency Gupta Media placed the ad, said the video only played for users who previously visited Disturbed sites. “The Disturbed ad was served via retargeting,” Gupta said in a statement released to Yahoo Music. “Retargeting ads are matched to previous web browsing behavior, so only a visitor who had interacted with Disturbed websites would be eligible to see this ad. The content of the video is irrelevant in this type of advertising because we know that they are Disturbed fans. There was no use of key words or any other kind of targeting for this particular ad.”
“The Vengeful One” video was released in June as the lead single from Immortalized that is expected to debut at No. 1 this week.
The song lyrics warn about a wrath from God prompted by “the lack of raw humanity.” In the music video, the band’s mascot, a dark creature called “The Guy,” seeks to stop the sensationalistic news coverage of wars.
Disturbed’s drummer Mike Wengren described “The Guy” as the “hand of God” in an interview with USA Today. “He sees the media and the world running amok, and he comes down to save everyone. He goes down and takes out the mind-controlling media.”
While Warner Bros. has pulled the online ad, the label and the band have no plans to pull the full length “The Vengeful One” music video or release a statement.