Some of the West’s most popular brands are advertising on, or next to, macabre extremist videos, some involving beheadings, executions, savage beatings and terrorist propaganda.
Pando has found advertisements for Barclays, Microsoft, Amazon, Santander, Travel Supermarket, Samsung, Phones4U, Airbus, Google, and Audi on Dailymotion.com – served with videos made by jihadi propagandists belonging to known terrorist organizations like ISIS, Al-Quaeda or Rayat al-Tawheed.
In one instance, Lipton Iced Tea sponsors a gruesome video in which gun waving mujahedeen display the head of a man they’ve killed, who they describe as a “paedophile rat”.
Hit refresh and another ad appears in front of the same video. While a man holds up the bodiless head of someone he has just executed, another – both are dressed in black military uniform – speaks to a market full of transfixed civilians somewhere in Syria: “Guys, if they come they won’t differentiate between a government supporter or an oppositionist, they will kill all,” he warns them about his fellow ISIS jihadis, holding the mangled head as an example of the consequences to any disobedience. Before that, though, a television-style ad plays for Colgate “pain relief toothpaste.
The juxtaposition of murder and marketing would be comical if it weren’t so grotesque. Next to fundamentalist jihadi images of the Pope’s head being blown away by a bomb sits a meek advert to Transport for London.
Next to footage inciting terrorists to bomb the Vatican there’s a banner advert placed by Airbus saying “Ready to launch? Fund out more about the aerospace industry in Alabama.”
After a refreshingly capitalist clip from Barclays, with two English pensioners chatting with a bank sales rep on Skype, on comes an out-and-out Islamist propaganda video encouraging “young lions” to “smite the evil West” and establish Sharia law on the whole planet.
Rayat al-Tawheed and ISIS, both terrorist organizations based in Syria, known for their military ineptitude, their PR knack and the gruesome war crimes they commit, have filmed and posted dozens videos on dailymotion.com. Although grainy, amateurish, naïve, bombastic and thick, these trench movies have proved a functional recruitment tool. They also provide monetizable content for Dailymotion, and a platform for major Western corporations to peddle their wares.
Said Twitter commentator Karl Sharro:
What a weird world we live in. Before you can watch a jihadi video from Syria, you have to watch a 30-second X-box ad.
— Karl Sharro (@KarlreMarks) June 29, 2014
Dailymotion is a French limited company based in Paris and wholly owned by Orange telecommunications – a multinational mobile network also based in Paris but founded in Britain. Orange’s current market cap is $41.09bn. Pando had not returned requests for comment by press time.
Dailymotion isn’t the only video company caught monetizing terror. A BBC Newsnight investigation which aired in the UK last Friday revealed that Youtube was showing British government advertisements next to extremist videos.