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I can't really put a frequency on how often it happens, but it's not uncommon... it's just human error. Whether or not the company that purchased the ad finds out probably varies from place to place. Most of the time, I would guess that the media that made the error would notify the advertiser and give them a credit.
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Short version, commercials are scheduled and stored on digital 'carts' and accessed via a simple filename, usually a series of numbers. So, hypothetically, the Paton ad (when it was running) could have been assigned the file number 7777. When it was scheduled to run, the program would search for the digital file named 7777, and run it, no questions asked. Those numbers get recycled, so what probably happened was Joe's Dry Cleaners (hypothetical) bought ad time in the game, the computer looked for a number that was currently unused, assigned it 7777, and then somewhere along the way, someone forgot to place Joe's on that file name (or mistakenly assigned Joe's ad to a different number) and when the computer called up commercial #7777, it played the old Paton ad. Scenarios like that actually happen quite often in radio and TV, but most viewers/listeners would never notice because the ads are generic enough to not raise an eyebrow. Obviously an old campaign ad running would be a lot more noticeable then say, the Wendy's copy that was supposed to end last week...
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If you knew anything about how those commercials get played, scheduled, and stored, you'd know it could very easily have been an accident.
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David Safier would certainly not approve of the violent imagery and language chosen here. I remember when Sarah Palin 'targeted' districts, he went all aflutter. Just saying.
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Oct 20, 2010