Why a cheeky Adwords campaign might open you up to a not-so-cheeky court case

Sam May
Sam May
Jan 18, 2017 · 2 min read

It’s the height of cheekiness.

Trying to break into a new market is a tough business, especially if you’re still trying to crack the magic formula of success, so it may be tempting to employ some borderline black-hat SEO and PPC techniques for a quick and dirty boost to your traffic and revenue.

One such technique is using a competitor’s brand name in your advertising and AdWords campaigns — riding their coat-tails onto the front pages of Google might seem appealing, but in reality, it could leave you with a big headache.

Bidding on another advertiser’s brand name doesn’t constitute trademark infringement as such, but aligning yourself with them in your adwords content can leave you in hot water. It’s been seen in the courts in 2013 — In the case of Interflora Vs M&S.

M&S decided to use the ‘Interflora’ brand name to promote their flower delivery service — meaning a significant proportion of customers clicking the ad believed M&S’ flower service was part of the Interflora network.

Naturally, Interflora won the case at the High Court, and even fended off an appeal by the supermarket giant.

In fact, it even directly contravenes Google’s rules due to trademark infringement implications, and it may leave your site and Adwords campaigns with a severe Google penalty for ad irrelevancy. You may not be able to rank for any of your strategic keywords anymore, rendering you invisible to the industry.

You’re far better off building your own value proposition and focusing on the key search terms you need to dominate in order to leave the competition in the dust.

You may read this and think it’s ‘never going to happen to me’. Trust us: It could.

Image for post
Image for post

Welcome to a place where words matter. On Medium, smart voices and original ideas take center stage - with no ads in sight. Watch

Follow all the topics you care about, and we’ll deliver the best stories for you to your homepage and inbox. Explore

Get unlimited access to the best stories on Medium — and support writers while you’re at it. Just $5/month. Upgrade

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store