Viewers who were watching the CNN coverage of the crisis in Ukraine were not prepared for the Applebee's commercial it cut away to.
The network was showing aerial-view footage of Kyiv under a broad attack after Russia invaded on Thursday, and the accompanying live audio of air-raid sirens blaring amplified the tension further.
But then, the segment abruptly gave way to a cheerful Applebee's commercial–with images of frothing beer, greasy fried chicken and a cowboy shaking his derriere towards the camera.
It was a stark contrast to the harrowing visuals shown just moments before.
The aural transition of sirens to the commercial's music–featuring Zac Brown Band's honky tonk crowd-pleaser, “Chicken Fried"–was particularly jarring and ridiculous.
A clip of the moment was destined to go viral.
The blunder was made worse by the ad running on a portion of the screen juxtaposed with the headline: "Russia Invades Ukraine," above a thumbnail image of Kyiv's smoke-filled atmosphere.
Many pointed the blame at the programmers at CNN, rather than Applebee's, for the unfortunate ad placement.
Amateur comedians of Twitter seized on an opportunity for wisecracks.
One user noted the lyrics in the song "Chicken Fried" made the moment even more cringeworthy.
The popular chain restaurant issued a statement expressing their disappointment in CNN's programming debacle.
“We are deeply concerned about the situation in Ukraine. When we were made aware that our ad was placed in this manner, we immediately reached out to CNN to pause our advertising on their network."
"It never should have aired, and we are disappointed in the actions of the network.”
The attack on Ukraine began on Thursday with Russian forces invading the country from three sides by land, air, and sea.
According to UK Chief of Defense Intelligence, Sir Jim Hockenhull, Russia's objective in Ukraine is to "encircle the capital, to secure control of the population and change the regime."
The UN refugee agency said 100,000 Ukrainian refugees have been displaced and thousands have crossed into neighboring countries, mainly Romania and Moldova.