My first experience with trademark issues and Google Adwords was with Toyota. I was working with a Toyota franchise dealer trying to buy search keyword ads. My ads included the company name of “Labadie Toyota”. I figured this was no big deal it’s the name of the business that has been doing business for many many years with a physical location. So I was a bit shocked when I got an email from Google saying I couldn’t use the name. After a few back and forth emails I finally figured out that the word “Toyota” was the trademark issue. Because of this I had to contact the North American brand manager for Toyota and get permission to use our business name in a search ad. For most SMBs I’m sure this is not an issue.
My second issue came last week. I was trying to do a competitive search term ad campaign. I was buying the ad terms for each of the competitive makes/models for the Toyota cars. Because the Corolla is such a great selling car I figured this would be a great place to start. So I created this ad:
Looking for Ford Focus?
Consider the Toyota Corolla.
The best-selling automobile ever.
909 N Euclid Ave, Bay City, MI
Within a few hours I got the dreaded ad denied because of trademarked terms email. Because of my experience with the Toyota issues a year earlier I figured that the word “Ford” and perhaps the string of words “Ford Focus” were the culprits. So my first try was to simply remove the word Ford. This worked. I’m sure that Ford would love to be able to trademark the word “Focus” but this is way to generic.
So next time you get a trademarked term notice don’t fret . . . just play around with the words a little bit.
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