Buy A Wife At Target

Ian Lurie

Google Adwords and other major pay-per-click providers have a tool called dynamic keywords. It lets you place a variable in your ad, so that the search phrase entered shows up in the ad.

Unfortunately it’s become a tool for lazy PPC marketers, leading to ads like this:


And this:


Please, if you must use dynamic keywords in your ads, at least think it through first. I like my children just fine – I don’t need to buy another one on Amazon or at Target. Honest.

There’s a serious side to this, too: It’s trademark infringement to use a brand name in an ad without permission. If you create an ad and buy a keyword for a competitor, that’s fine. But if you use dynamic keywords in the ad, then your competitor’s name will show up, too. So this:

{keyword:portent} Online

Buy great signs and Portents

On the Interwebs. Free shipping!

Could become this, if you bought ‘nike’ as a keyword:

Nike Online

By great signs and Portents

On the Interwebs. Free Shipping!

You do not want Nike’s lawyers on your doorstep.

PS: If you have any other great instances of dynamic ads gone wrong, let me know. I’ll post ’em.

Technorati Tags:

Ian Lurie

Ian Lurie is the founder of Portent. He's been a digital marketer since the days of AOL and Compuserve (25 years, if you're counting). Ian's recorded training for, writes regularly for the Portent Blog and has been published on AllThingsD, Smashing Magazine, and TechCrunch. Ian speaks at conferences around the world, including SearchLove, MozCon, Seattle Interactive Conference and ad:Tech. He has published several books about business and marketing: One Trick Ponies Get Shot, available on Kindle, The Web Marketing All-In-One Desk Reference for Dummies, and Conversation Marketing. Ian is now an independent consultant and continues to work with the Portent team- training the agency group on all things digital. You can find him at

Start call to action

See how Portent can help you own your piece of the web.

End call to action


  1. I know lots of guys that get their wives at Target. Primarily due to the 30 day money back guarantee and the liberal exchange policy.
    Linda must have still been sleeping when she wrote this. 😉

Comments are closed.

Close search overlay