The New York Times ran a heart-breaking 7500-word article in today’s Sunday Magazine about Sandy Bem’s struggle with Alzheimer’s and her resolution that before the disease stole her mind, she would kill herself.  It was a brave piece of reporting. But an mobile ad placement stopped me dead cold.

last-days-nytThe print edition, glossy and sophisticated as the Sunday magazine always is, keeps most ads on separate pages so that content/pictures can flow smoothly.  The only same-page ad was toward the end of the printed article, for a senior-friendly stairlift.  The (web) online version included geo-targeted sports ads for major league soccer and professional skateboarding.  No angst for me.

The mobile (iOS/Safari) edition showed a wildly inappropriate ad for Tile which reads “I lose my keys ALL. THE. TIME.”  Every early Alzheimer patient’s deepest fear.  It appeared every few inches, probably ad-tech-selected for content words like “memory.”  Or perhaps just a statistical fluke, since Tile is a heavy advertiser with The Times.  Either way, hard for me to choose between being deeply offended and encouraged that Big Brother Data doesn’t yet anticipate every reaction of mine.