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10th June 2013 |  Written by Jamie Sellars

Brand Misspells – Turning Wrongs into Rights.

Whilst wading through the wonderful World Wide Web I came across a website for a new campaign for the Snickers nutty chocolate bar by UK creative agency AMV BBDO.

Snickers Gif

The campaign was based around the concept that people, in a fit of hunger, misspell various keywords whilst searching Google at work. By bidding on over 25,000 misspelt common keywords the campaign used PPC adverts to direct users to yourenotyouwhenyourehungry.com. Snickers were apparently able to reach over 500,000 hungry fans and by using a dedicated domain, the campaign bypassed social media platforms often blocked by IT departments in an office environment.

The campaign got me thinking about misspelt keywords and brand misspelling in particular. Of course a multinational established brand like Snickers dont have to worry about misspells as Google’s algorithm will often automatically suggest the correct version. As seen here:

snickers search

Although since 2008, Google has improved its ability to spot typo’s, virtually all businesses face misspells driving traffic to their website. Things to bear in mind when considering these:

  • You can find variations of brand misspells by delving into Google Analytics’ organic keyword data selecting as long a date range as possible.
  • With slacker trademark rules many sites use Google Adwords to bid on common misspellings of their competitor’s business name. Ensure you appear as well or face missing out on this traffic.
  • Unless you are a well known brand, you wont naturally rank for a misspelt brand keyword, except if the term appears within your sites content. I would not recommend simply spelling every 3rd mention incorrectly as this damages your brands integrity. Instead think about writing content that legitimately lists misspellings. For example:
    • Write a Brand Guidelines page which list ways the brand shouldn’t be written or spelt (misspells).
    • Write a tongue and cheek blog posts about your brands misspellings thereby creating content with them in and increasing your chances of  ranking for the terms.
  • You could buy & redirect a domain name containing a brand misspelling. Or buy a mispell domain and host a landing page linking to the correct site. *Beware not to do this on a large scale as it may hint towards a link network or portal page and result in penalisation.
  • There are even cases of ‘Typosquatting’ where a competitor registers the trademark and domain of a common brand  misspell in order to cash in. If you do find someone doing this then file a complaint with the ICANN under the Uniform Domain-Name Dispute-Resolution Policy.

UPDATE: Interestingly this blog now currently ranks #1 for  “Brand Misspells” with the 3rd & 4th results both being brand misspell pages by competing UK jewellery brands:

adsdad

Let us know about your tips or experiences of brand misspelling in the comments section below.

Your Comments

  1. Hi Colin,

    Nice post. Some good tips there. I feel bad for brands like Xerox hehe…..

    Thanks,

    Halit

  2. A nice find Colin and an interesting campaign. I like the thinking around targeting the misspellings but I’m a little disappointed that the landing page doesn’t really do anything other than provide a link to a facebook account.

    Another embarrassing misspelling issue by a brand happened recently with the new RBS campaign that prompted people in its TV, print and outdoor ads to ‘search RBYes’ to find out about their mortgages.

    Unfortunately, Google tried to be helpful and correct what it perceived to be a misspelling and instead of results for ‘RBYes’ you were presented with…

    Rabies!

    You’d have thought someone at RBS or their agency would have checked what actually happened when you typed that word in BEFORE you created a multi-million pound TV campaign.

    It’s all in the details.

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