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Reminder: Don't Use 'Super Bowl'

1/29/13

By Ken Magill

So whether or not the National Football League can legally stop unaffiliated advertisers from using the trademarked term “Super Bowl” in their promotions is apparently up for debate.

But do you want to be the martyr, er marketer who tests them? Of course not.

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, say, Domino’s Pizza from diluting that association’s value for sponsor Papa John’s—both of which sell pretty crappy pizza.

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.

On a side note, you can use “Magill,” “Magill Report” and “Ken Magill” any way you want. You can’t possibly dilute their value any more than I have already done myself.

In any case, 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:

"Super Bowl"
"Super Sunday"
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.

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Terms: Feel free to be as big a jerk as you want, but don't attack anyone other than me personally. And don't criticize people or companies other than me anonymously. Got something crappy to say? Say it under your real name. Anonymous potshots and personal attacks aimed at me, however, are fine.

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