By 7 years ago in Google Search

Marks & Spencer vs Unite in Google war

According to The Times Britain’s biggest private sector union is holding a war against Marks & Spencers today using Google.

It seems they want to use Adwords to place sponsored results when people search for the brand in Google and divert them to their own site.

Unite, which has nearly two million members, plans to use searches for M&S on Google from 5am today to divert users to its list of grievances.

Anyone typing “M&S” or variations of “Marks & Spencer” into Google will see a direct link to the “Look Behind the Label” campaign put together by the T&G section of Unite, as well as normal search results.

The cost to the union of taking its views on to the global stage could be as little as £500.

Tony Woodley, the Unite general secretary, said: “The power of the internet gives unions the potential to go beyond its membership and reach out directly to millions of people and influence consumers.”

The only problem is that Google doesn’t let people bid on trademarked terms such as “Marks & Spencer” so the ads stopped showing after a few hours. The click through rate is likely to be very low and the whole stunt will have cost a tiny amount.

The real eye opener here is that 4 major newspapers in the UK wrote about the campaign.

By Patrick Altoft. at 9:06PM on Thursday, 28 Feb 2008

Patrick is the Director of Strategy at Branded3 and has spent the last 11 years working on the SEO strategies of some of the UK's largest brands. Patrick’s SEO knowledge and experience is highly regarded by many, and he’s regularly invited to speak at the world’s biggest search conferences and events. Follow Patrick Altoft on Twitter.


  • Wicked Keemo

    They are showing for “marks” but not “spencer” or “sparks”..

    • Patrick Altoft

      Oh yes I see them, they haven’t been able to get the keywords into the ad though so the click through rate will be zero.

  • Matthew

    LOL. Well spotted.

  • Sucker

    Wow, I guess “it’s the thought that counts” when it comes to the major newspapers.