Report: GM Cashed In on Competitors’ Super Bowl Ads with Google Search Trick

How do you turn TV ad exposure into internet exposure? If you’re Chevrolet, you use a clever Google search trick to nab people searching for your competitors’ ads as well as your own.

Ever wonder why ads totally unrelated to your search turn up on the Google search results page? It’s no accident. Google AdWords allows advertisers to buy search keywords through a “keyword bid” for as little as one cent per click and 25 cents per thousand impressions, plus a five-dollar activation fee and a 10-dollar minimum purchase. This tool, little-known outside the advertising world, allowed GM’s marketing chief Joel Ewanick to cash in on the popularity of Volkswagen’s “The Force” ad and Chrysler’s “Born of Fire”/”Imported From Detroit” ad.

“I’m sitting there watching to see if anybody is going to be really good and take off,” Ewanick told the Wall Street Journal. “(The Chrysler ad) comes on and I say, ‘Yeah, we’re getting our butts kicked, so let’s go.’”

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Ewanick quickly called his staff and instructed them to use the AdWords tool to buy the keywords “Darth Vader” and “Imported from Detroit.” Thanks to Ewanick’s quick thinking, Chevrolet picked up more than 54 million page views after the Super Bowl as ads for Chevrolet popped up on the search results for Volkswagen and Chrysler Super Bowl ads.

“We did the right thing to ride the wave,” Ewanick said. “Someone said, ‘Gee, they did better than us.’ But we did better because of them.”

Some may argue that Ewanick’s behind-the-scenes effort to ride the coattails of more popular ads was sneaky or underhanded, but there’s little doubt that marketers at Volkswagen and Chrysler are slapping their heads right now for not thinking of it. Now that the word is out, expect marketers to be on top of the keyword bid in the future, regardless of company.

Source: Wall Street Journal

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