Annual Reminder: Don't Use 'Super Bowl'
By Ken Magill
If you’re a long-time avid reader of the Magill Report, you may know I publish this warning every year. If you do: First, thank you for your readership. I am honored that you would part with some of your most valuable asset—your time—to read this newsletter.
Second, is time flying by or what? It seems like yesterday I last published this reminder. And in no time we’ll be swapping email marketing stories in an old-folks’ home while eating pureed meals and swilling whatever alcoholic beverages we’re allowed to have.
I have told the wife I really don’t care where she puts me as long as I can spend my waning days soused. Think about it: At that stage in our lives we can pee ourselves and no one will think anything of it.
I plan to make full use of that privilege.
But I digress. Every year a bunch of marketers put the words “Super Bowl” in their promotions and every year, the NFL sends out a bunch of cease and desist letters.
Why? Because sponsors pay a lot of money to be associated with the NFL and the NFL wants to prevent unauthorized marketers from diluting that association’s value for paid advertisers.
The NFL is so territorial it even tried to trademark “The Big Game” but gave up in 2007 after Stanford University and UC Berkeley pointed out their annual football matchup has been referred to as such since 1902.
Here is what I’ve been able to cobble together from various sources: Without the clear permission of the NFL, broadcasters and other media may not use the following terms or images in their promotions:
The Super Bowl logo
"NFL," "AFC" or "NFC"
"The National Football League"
"American Football Conference"
"National Football Conference"
Any team name or nickname
Marketers may use the following terms and information in their promotions without the NFL's permission:
"The Big Game"
"The Professional Football Championship Game"
The date of the game
The names of the two competing cities, as long as the team names are not mentioned
Any statement mocking the fact that the NFL doesn't allow the media to use any of the forbidden terms.