• Jan 30, 2006

Pontiac recently made headlines (well, at least a few) by imploring car shoppers to "Google Pontiac" in television ads and automaker Mazda has apparently taken notice. So much so, in fact, it has set about purchasing competitors' terms like "Pontiac" as part of its AdWords initiative.

By doing so, Mazda is neatly (if clandestinely) maximizing its advertising dollars by buying search-engine keywords that take advantage of what other firms have already done the heavy financial lifting on. In this case, Mazda is leveraging the power of Pontiac's television and print "Google' campaign against itself without paying for it. Apparently, this cannibalizing practice isn't only savvy and hard to track, it's also completely legal.

[Source: Traffick.com]



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    • 1 Second Ago
  • 12 Comments
      • 9 Years Ago
      the only way Mazda can purchase the word "pontiac" and get a listing in the ad placements (ie, above, and to the right of the natural search) is if there is something mentioning/regarding Pontiac on the landing page.

      and the idea is not new, buying competitors keywords goes back to 1995.
      • 9 Years Ago
      After my 3rd search on "pontiac" the only result (out of 20 on the first page) that came up was a hastily-assembled page about the MX5 vs Solstice.

      "Miata vs Pontiac Solstice
      Exclusive test-drive invitation for
      a New MX-5 Miata. Sign up now!
      MX5NoComparison.com"
      • 9 Years Ago
      When consumers figure that out the google search method is rigged, they will use a different search engine that does not do that. It's just a matter of time. Google shorts will be smiling all the way to the bank.
      • 9 Years Ago
      I'm not totally up on this, but I think buy buying the adwords for Pontiac doesn't put Mazda a result for pontiac. What it will do is put up a Mazda add on the side if someone is searching for something using the word Pontiac. Shouldn't be a problem.
      • 9 Years Ago
      WTF. I googled Pontiac. No mazda anywhere on the page. I call bullshit on this one.
      • 9 Years Ago
      Typed "Pontiac" (without the quotes) into Google and Pontiac sites came up. There was nothing about Mazda.
      Looks like a non-issue here.
      • 9 Years Ago
      I remember googling pontiac Solstice and getting "MX-5 Vs. Solstice" ads along with the solstice back in August, 2005.

      Ironically, it doesn't seem to be happening anymore.

      I think this report just comes 5 months too late. (I remember just thinking "oh, that's a cute advertisement tactic".
      • 9 Years Ago
      #3- it is my understanding that the search results themselves they do not change but above the ads and on the right hand side ads is where they get their revenue and people pay to be placed... also I would guess this would apply to the ads by google stuff like on autoblog here so what they are trying to do is where a page says pontiac there would be a mazda ad in that ads by google section...
      • 9 Years Ago
      Actually, Google does not allow companies to have ad campaigns that use competitors names for search terms. As soon as Pontiac finds out about it and files a complaint, Google will pull Mazda's ad campaign.
      • 9 Years Ago
      It may be "perfectly legal" but it's not ethical. Sounds like they got their e-Marketing team from 1-800-POKER CASINO.

      Mazda may entice the mindless masses into its lair, but people with principles who feel duped will think poorly of Mazda and run away from them. That's what I'll do.

      It's a shame, because Mazda is getting a lot of things right in styling and packaging.
      • 9 Years Ago
      I've noticed Mazda has been quietly (or not so quietly now) running competitive ads on Google for many makes/models. Isuzu and others have done so as well. Search for a few, it doesn't take long to uncover some.
      • 7 Years Ago
      Please note that this was an Infuse Creative search engine marketing campaign.