Ad hijacking:integrate off- & online advertising (Guestpost)

Tue 23 June 2009 10:30, Editors

Ad hijacking:integrate off- & online advertising (Guestpost)

When I think back to the first conference I ever visited I have to think of Kristjan Hauksson. Ad AdTech London years ago he was the first SEO I ever saw speak 'in real life'. One thing that still comes to mind is how he interacted with the audience, something lots of speakers forget to do. Therefore Kristjan is one person who could not be missed in this series.

Kristjan is a founder and Director of Search & Online Communications at Nordic eMarketing. The Company specializes in multilingual online comms, organic search engine optimization and marketing through several verticals.. Kristjan is also the founder of the Iceland SEO/SEM forum, a contributing editor at Multi Lingual, and a popular lecturer in his home country of Iceland and abroad. Kristjan writes a very recognizable post on ad hijacking.

A reason to integrate offline & online advertising - “Ad hijacking”

Let’s start by asking two questions:

     “Should marketers think about the Internet as a marketing media and why?”

Scenario: 23:10, with one eye on the TV and one eye on my laptop I'm working on my Facebook account when I notice an ad on the UK TV station FIVE. I miss most the ad but remember the slogan “The choice is clear”. I Google it but find nothing that is related. No campaign website, no news, no PPC ads. Turns out this TV ad was an ad for

This get’s me thinking. I do about ten tests like this and all but two had an open invitation for competitors to use the advertisers offline messaging and campaign assets to steal potential online customers. They had not integrated their offline and online marketing activities.

So why is this important? A friend of mine, Mikkel DeMib, often talks about a book called “Marketing Warfare”. In this book there is a section about Gorilla Marketing. Under this term falls ad hijacking. Ad hijacking happens when the smaller agile company monitors the expensive advertising campaigns and uses phrases and words from that campaign to gain online attention through Google Pay Per Click.

According to a global audit of 306 marketers by the Chief Marketing Officer (CMO) Council and Mark Monitor (via MarketingCharts) online brand hijacking worries only 29.5% of marketers.

My personal experience is that the main reason is not that the other 70% are fearless, but that these 70% are unaware. They do not understand how the internet can be leveraged as a marketing channel and are not aware of the threats and risks they open themselves up to by ignoring it when running offline campaigns.

Let's look at some more examples of ad hijacking:

I am working and watching TV when I see one of my favorite actors, Patrick Dempsey, in a men’s skin care ad.  Being close to Patrick’s age I Google the phrase “Patrick Dempsey skin care” and find an Avon after shave result.

But this does not look like the product as I remembered it in Patrick’s advert. The ad I saw on TV was by L’Oreal. So why is L’Oreal not using the internet to back their ads up and why is Patrick working for two companies on very similar products?

Another example I found as I was writing this article is T-Mobile. I saw a T-Mobile TV ad with “SIM Only Plan” as the campaign tagline. Yet when you Google it you get the following results.

Orange, 02, Virgin and Three are in the top four places for PPC and I get a PDF from T-Mobile as their first result, number one in the organic result. Will customers really wait to open a PDF? They must be able to do better than this?

The bottom line is that marketers are still not considering search engines as part of their marketing strategy.

So who is doing it well?
An example of a company that is doing this right is Barclays. They are using their slogan “take one small step” in their TV and Press activities. Here we can see that they have invested in PPC advertising to back up their TV campaign.Your browser may not support display of this image.

So what do you do?

So what are the basic elements to consider online when running an ad campaign offline?

  1. Make sure to have a campaign microsite or landing page on your website that echoes the messaging from your TV/Press/Radio campaigns
  2. Run PPC ads for all variations of your offline campaign tagline/messaging so that customers who don’t remember the exact phrase can find you
  3. If you are using registered trademarks, let Google know that only you can use them so competitors can’t hijack this
  4. Use Google Universal Search to your advantage by distributing online PR launching the campaign so it is picked up by Google News
  5. Use other channels such as YouTube to post your TV ad and tag it so it is visible in Google Video results
  6. Use web analytics to monitor the phrases used to find your site

  • Comments (16)
  • Guestposts
  • Tell-a-cowboy

Comments (16)



  • HTML is not allowed. URLs are automatically clickable.
    * Email address is not shown

  • Scotch Brite – wash your bill
  • Scotch Brite – wash your bill
  • Lynx’s invisible Ads – the most creative idea
  • Google ads in Russian bus shelters
  • Google mobile ads

Last Comments


Last event


  • J-P De Clerck
    J-P De Clerck

    Profession: Customer-centric digi...

    Company: Conversionation

  • Sam Murray
    Sam Murray

    Profession: Senior Search Consultant

    Company: Verve Search

  • Susie Hood
    Susie Hood

    Profession: Head of Copywriting

    Company: Click Consult / SEO C...

  • Tom Bogaert
    Tom Bogaert

    Profession: Managing Partner

    Company: QueroMedia

Latest Videos



  • Lizette van der Laan
    Social Media Image

    Is it the real you, the witty you, the person who reads the most interesting articles, makes t...


Subscribe to SC Newsletter:

RSS Feed

Are you a bloggerFacebook


© 2016 - All Rights Reserved - All views and opinions expressed are those of the authors of Searchcowboys.

All trademarks, slogans, text or logo representation used or referred to in this website are the property of their respective owners. Sitemap