Avoiding Trademarks in Ad Copy

As more brands select Paid Search as an advertising channel we are seeing an increasing rate of ads being either ‘Approved Limited’ or disapproved due to trademark issues in ad copy.

While the ad copy itself adheres to Google’s advertising policy, in many cases the use of a trademarked term in the ad copy results in the ad being disapproved or set to Approved Limited, in which case very few impressions are generated.

Frustrated with PPC

Real Life Scenario:

Our client, a used car site connects the UK’s best car dealer networks, selling cars from every major manufacturer going.

We have a number of manufacturers that are proving difficult to advertise because of trademarked terms in the ad copy.

We can apply in writing to the trademark owner to obtain permission to use the trademarked term in our ad copy, this takes time and is not generally welcomed by the trademark owner and usually the use is declined.

We can get around this using clever generic ad copy.


Headline 1:        Nearly New INSIGNIA

Headline 2:        Nearly New & Ex Demo Vauxhall

Description:       Trusted Dealers Is The Safest Place To Buy A Used Vauxhall.

Status: ‘Approval Limited’ as it contains key words in the text; Vauxhall and Insignia.


Headline 1:        Nearly New & Ex Demo Cars

Headline 2:        Search All Leading Brands

Description:       Trusted Dealers Is The Safest Place To Buy A Nearly New Or Ex Demo Car.

Status: ‘Approved’ as it does not name any specific brand nor is it ambiguous in its content. Vauxhall is a leading brand. We’re just not naming names.

Ad Copy Thoughts

Although this isn’t a perfect solution, it’s one that you can use whilst  trying to obtain trademark approval from any brands presenting you with this issue.

If however (which in many cases) you are unable to obtain this permission then the workaround ad is a brilliant example of what you can do to bypass it.


The same principle applies to any trademark scenario. For instance if you have problems with a brand, let’s say “L’Oréal Mascara”. You could always use “Leading Mascara Brands” to work your way around.

The best way to think about it is to ask yourself, which is best:

  1. Advertise using generic, but relevant ads and still get traffic?
  2. Don’t advertise at all and lose business for your client?


Scratching Head


Using generic ads can still be relevant and totally unambiguous. If the ads are getting clicks then your target audience are interested.

Don’t just live with it, try and work the problem.

For more on ad copy, check out our latest blog on how to make it perform amazingly for you and your clients.

Ahmed Chopdat
Commercial Director

An expert in high volume, highly competitive markets with a keen eye for trends, motivated by client profitability and success.

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