Yes, you read it right. I'm recommending that when you have a campaign running on other sites, it's a good idea to be on sites that have bad content. That is not to say that being on sites with good content is bad. Of course not.
Many advertisers, planners, and brand managers do their planning and buying before they test their ads, just like they do with traditional media. Therefore, the easiest and safest option for them is to go with known and trusted sites.
Ideally, the decision of where you should place your ads should be made after a good assessment of sites, but most importantly you can best decide on ad placement when you have data on how your ads performed for that specific placement (site) and for that specific campaign. This means that "good sites to advertise on" are only good relative to the other available options, and based on the results you are getting.
If you agree with my previous post on the power of contextual targeting then we know that you are getting to the relevant audience simply by being present on pages that discuss content similar to and related to your offering.
Many people end up on content pages through search engines anyway. So many people are already searching.
If they land on a page that talks about your content and contains your ads, and that page has bad content, then the user will probably click on your ad to get the better content. You just provided a solution to your audience.
The fear stopping people from doing this is mainly because they don't appreciate how powerful content targeting is, and because they don't want bad 'brand association' or something of that sort.
It's just like saying that you don't want to open a branch of your shop in a certain street because it's not very clean or not trendy.
If your customers walk on that street, you should be there. Very simple. Moreover, since you have full control on how clean and nice you want to make your store, it means that if you do, your will stand out much more, and can become the attraction on that street.
At the end of the day, each campaign, brand, website, and landing page are different, and you can't make the best decision until you have tested some options first.
This is a reason to go ahead and try advertising on sites that don't have the premium content, where you can actually deliver better results for your campaign. You also have a better bargaining power with these sites, and it can be much more cost-effective.