Many companies are annoyed that competitors advertise with their brand names in their ads in the search engines. This is known as piggybacking. It is different than conquest buys where the advertiser uses trademarked names to trigger their ads but the brand name does not appear in the ad itself.
Most search engines like Google have policies against piggybacking but allow conquest buys in many cases.
Not all systems are perfect but from the example shown in the Wall Street Journal on this subject (June 4, 2008 European Edition) it looks as if the guilty piggybacking ad is using Google’s automatic keyword insertion feature. This is where the advertiser chooses keywords to trigger the ad and the exact keyword used by the searcher is inserted automatically in the ad by Google’s Adwords system.
So it seems that Google hasn’t been able to get its own automatic feature to abide by its guidelines. A case of the machine not listening to its human masters.
We recently checked to see if the companies (Marriot International Inc, InterContinental Hotels Group PLC, American Airliness and Northwest Airlines) in the piggybacking article still had the same problem. Turns out they do not. Could it be that the Wall Street Journal article somehow convinced the machine to stop the piggybacking?