Learning how not to use keywords from M&S

So, it’s finally over. The five year legal battle between high street favourite Marks & Spencer and flower company Interflora has been ruled in Interflora’s favour, with M&S being ordered to pay damages to the flower company.

To get you up to speed, Marks & Spencer were accused of targeting the term ‘Interflora’ as part of their Google Ads campaign. This is all well and good, but M&S breached a piece of EU legislation stating that it is unacceptable to mislead the customer as to the origin of the product. It was found that many people who were looking for Interflora ending up clicking on the M&S ads believing that Interflora was linked to M&S’s flower service in some way.

This experience has surely proved very costly for M&S, and it goes to show that while underhand tactics might work for a while, they’re certainly not a long term solution and will almost certainly damage your internet marketing campaign in the long run. So, what should we take from this?

Firstly, it’s not OK to siphon off the competition’s customers by misleading them into thinking you are actually the competitor they were searching for. This is the equivalent of having someone type ‘Interflora’ into their SatNav, arriving at your shop, seeing the word ‘Interflora’ interspersed with your regular M&S signs and believing they will be getting an Interflora service.

There is a big difference between trying to poach the customers of your competition through legitimate competitive means and doing so by essentially lying to your customers. Even if you’re targeting the same keywords as your competitors, this doesn’t mean you can pretend that you are the other company in order to dupe people into using your service.

If you’re not sure whether or not your keyword use is acceptable or you want some advice on how to avoid misleading customers through confused keyword tactics,  get in touch with Artemis today to find out how we can help you get your keywords in order.