Any of you working with Google Ads and constantly finding ads limited due to trademark policies?

Then this post is for you. 

Back in the early days when I was working on a “Google AdWords” account for an insurance company, I had the opposite problem to today’s frustration.

The company was Budget Insurance and all kinds of competitors, were advertising on the search term Budget Insurance. We submitted the trademark with Google to prevent users from including the clients brand name in their ads – however being a generic term there was very little we could do, and Google did not accept the submission. 

Fast forward 17 years, and clients of mine are being penalised left right and centre for the most ridiculous instances. Here are just a few examples of the trademark policies limiting our ads: 

  • ‘Illuminations’ (Blackpool can’t own them all surely?)
  • ‘Linked’ (what is this supposed to be a trademark of?)
  • ‘All seasons’ (read the context Google!!)
  • ‘Father Christmas’ (who owns this trademark?!?!)
  • ‘Firework display’ (not a trademark but ad limited due to selling explosives. We are not selling fireworks Google, just tickets to an event which displays them, which is very clear from the ad and the website)
  • Breach of reseller policy – (no guidance on the trademark in this case, it was just flagged as a breach of reseller policy – the only thing I can imagine is they are blocking our own Brand name as the trademark in the site link!)

disapproved trademark policy

Now Google has had 17 years since that first example to understand intent, sentiment, meaning within how people search, yet the automation of reviewing ads seems like a black hole. Is anyone even responsible for this? It doesn’t feel like it. 

Take this a level further to frustrate us, the appeal button only offers the consideration to review your ad if you have made edits to comply.

appeal trademark policy

Click on the Appeal button and it simply takes you here:

policy violations

Why would I edit my ad before appealing it?

Obviously if you are purposefully using other brand names in your ads, or you are a reseller without permission from the trademark owner then sure, this needs addressing. But for generic terms in the context they are – this is becoming a joke!

So for anyone feeling the pain of trademarks in Google Ads, and unable to get through to anyone on a phone call (as COVID 19 is still being blamed for no one answering calls), here is the link to submit your issue as an actual appeal:

It is not a definitive solution, some ads will get approved but you won’t be alerted so be aware you may just stumble upon the approval yourself. Other ads may be reviewed (after flagging 3 or more times via the form), but after chasing up time and time again you may still end up with a disapproval or even more frustrating no progress at all. 

To add fuel to the fire, behind all this is the constant aggressive push from Google’s reps to make us advertisers switch everything to automation.

Why would I do that if some of the most simple processes are not being handled correctly by this so call intelligent technology?

What’s the dumbest trademark issue you have seen in your ads?

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