Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Does 'Hijacking' Online Ads Work to Build Support?

Both the Obama and Romney campaigns engaged in online "hijacking" this election. It's a tactic that means people typing the keyword "Obama" into a search engine, like Google, are served Romney ads, and vice versa. It's a new twist in the political realm but not new to online marketers seeking competitive brand awareness. However, the practice of selling ads on competing search results also has stirred lawsuits against Google by companies like Geico and Rosetta Stone, alleging that it enables trademark violation. Court rulings have been mixed on the advertising legality. However, the real question for political campaigns and causes is whether they risk confusing or turning off the very supporters they seek to woo -- and the jury is still out on that. For a discussion of hijacking online ads in politics, see the "Bloomberg News" story at http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2012-11-05/brand-hijacking-means-romney-s-voters-confused-with-obama.html

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