Romney Campaign Buying Obama Ads

Ethics and marketing is always an interesting question, especially when it comes to bidding on competitors keywords. In politics there seems to be whole new rules being created and a new question being raised about bidding for your opponents name. It seems that the Romney campaign is trying to get in on the Obama craze. Marty Weintraub of aimClear noted this this week that the Romney Campaign was buying advertising using keywords for Obama. He questioned if this was smart marketing, or just plain dirty tactics – that even typing in “Bara” was getting ads for Romney.

From AimClear Blog

Not to be bested by having Romney on top, it seems that the Obama campaign has also decided to buy ads using its own keywords. Seems that sometime after Marty noticed the issue, someone in their campaign also noticed and they thought it was detrimental enough to take action. I also noticed that a lot more people “like” Obama on Facebook than Romney, but it could be because because Obama was been in the spotlight a lot longer.


The Obama campaign isn’t doing the same, but interestingly enough when you type in Romney, you do get ads for Paul Ryan VP. I’m not sure the reason for that, perhaps they thought that more people needed to know more about Paul Ryan?

The Romney campaign seems to also be buying other keywords, including President, making them right above President Bill Clinton, and far above President Mahmoud Abbas. No mention of Obama, which is curious indeed.



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Pace Lattin

Pace Lattin is one of the top experts in interactive advertising, affiliate marketing. Pace Lattin is known for his dedication to ethics in marketing, and focus on compliance and fraud in the industry, and has written numerous articles for publications from MediaPost, ClickZ, ADOTAS and his own blogs.

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  1. Good post Pace. Clearly none of us expect politicians from either side to run clean campaigns. We can hope, but it’s not in their nature. I will say I find the tactic smart. If you have a car dealer and put a billboard right by a competitor, I find that to be strategic but not dirty. I look at bidding on competition similar to placing strategic billboards.

    Do you know if these guys have been playing in PPV on the other guys sites? That would have been an interesting story.

    Check out this great post by Jerry West. http://blog.seorevolution.com/2009/04/24/the-marketing-ambush/

    I’d call this brilliant more than dirty.

  2. I don’t see any problem with buying competitor keywords, it is done all the time. I guess during the political season everything and everyone is more sensitive, but its normal practice.

  3. There’s a giant billboard for a church that says omething along the lines of titty bars and sinning off a major freeway overhere NEXT TO A Stripclub 🙂

    Anyways, I don’t trust Romney AT ALL but I don’t think there’s anything wrong with bidding on Obama keyboards. Heck, I’ve ran pro-Obama advertising on Fox news and other conservative propaganda I mean “news” sites. Low volume though through a 3rd party RTB to keep it off Fox’ radar since ol’ Rupert himself would have slit my throat if he knew!

    1. So you bought pro-obama ads on Fox news and you don’t know the difference between keyword and keyboard? What is an Obama keyboard anyways[sic]? The only #epicfail here is your post.

  4. I’m really not sure why there is even an article about this. This is a simple and obvious tactic — it’s really surprising that whoever is handling Obama’s media buying wasn’t already doing this. Online marketing 101 — steal traffic from your competitors.

  5. I’m sorry, but the fact that Farmville 2 is buying up ”
    Obama” searches just goes to show that context isn’t the only key here. It’s volume & mass of ads and being “up there…” that determine where to run, context being close second, it seems.

    If anyone thinks that Mitt Romney is sitting with a computer and creating keywords lists, they would be wrong. In a couple of weeks these things will fade away and only the win will matter. Ask Al Gore…

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