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Jar wars: Kringle, Yankee spar over online ad

Two Pioneer Valley candle companies have gotten into a dispute about a misleading Internet ad.

According to the Kringle Candle Co., an online ad that was associated with Google searches for Kringle Candle promised a “buy one, get one 50 percent off” sale on the company’s candles.

The problem was, that ad took people to the home page of competitor Yankee Candle Co.

The ad was an unfortunate slip-up caused by the automated system that posts ads on Google, according to Karen Woods, director of public relations for Yankee.

She said Yankee regularly uses paid ads, which are designed to pop up when certain keywords, such as “candle,” are used in Google searches.

“In this case, the Yankee Candle ad inadvertently pulled the Kringle name, due to an automated Google function that has since been disabled,” said Woods.

Though the ad may have driven a few extra visitors to the Yankee website, Woods said consumers weren’t misled into making purchases.

“We didn’t benefit at all from the error.”

Kringle’s spokesman Tim O’Brien, said the company has been advised not to comment on the matter, since it involves pending legal issues.

Kringle’s Facebook page pointed out the misleading ad, which had appeared Wednesday among Google search results for Kringle Candle. Thursday, the ad no longer came up when searching for Kringle.

The posting reminded consumers that Kringle and Yankee are not affiliated, and Yankee does not distribute Kringle products.

Kringle was founded in 2010 by Michael Kittredge III, whose father, Michael Kittredge II, founded Yankee Candle Co. in 1969, but sold the business in 1998, well before his son started Kringle.

Kringle Candle would like to point out that the concern in this case is not solely if or how much Yankee Candle may have actually benefitted by unauthorized use of the copyrighted Kringle Candle Company trademark. Kringle Candle also incurred significant time and customer service costs in dealing with a significant number of angry and/or confused customers who were deceived by the unauthorized ads. In some cases, Kringle Candle customers cancelled orders they had placed on the Kringle Candle website, falsely believing there was a legitimate Kringle product sale underway. We are pleased to see the unauthorized ads have now been removed.

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