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Buying brand identity keywords
Direct response marketers have long been in love with search ads and their ability to reach users already on the hunt for specific goods and services. Now, some advertisers are taking a broader view of search, buying terms they want consumers to associate with their brands, even though the searchers clearly aren't hunting for their products.
Honda has bought thousands of such keywords as part of a new campaign for its CRV. While it continues to buy auto terms as well, the carmaker is acquiring keywords related to its new "Crave" theme, like "chocolate," "banana splits" and "celebrity gossip," all designed to bring searchers to a community Web site Honda created for users to collect and share craves. RPA, Honda's agency, mined data from tools like Yahoo's Buzz Index to select terms that are not just crave-related, but also skewed to a main CR-V target audience: young women. In a month, the search ads have drawn over 500,000 people to the site.
To me, this is a brilliant strategy and a damaging one. If I'm searching for chocolate, and I get a CRV ad, I may begin to associate the two concepts in my mind. More likely my distrust of Internet advertising is reinforced. While it might be a little fun as an agency or creative media buyer, in my mind, it damages the industry a little bit.