Warning: Don't Use 'Super Bowl' in Your Promotions
By Ken Magill
According to a press release published today by Canadian email service provider Elite Email, the biggest trend in email marketing for the last week of January has been Super Bowl-related promotions.
“The top email marketing trending topic for the last full week in January 2012 was ‘Super Bowl XLVI’ based on an analysis by Elite Email,” the company said in its release. “Both small and large organizations were jumping onto the media juggernaut that is the Super Bowl as email marketing campaigns were filled with phrases like “Super Bowl," ‘New York Giants’ and ‘New England Patriots’.”
One problem: Unless the organizations using those terms have paid the National Football League for the rights to use them, if the NFL gets wind of said usage, the NFL will send a decease-and-desist letter alleging copyright infringement.
The NFL is notorious for filing complaints alleging copyright infringement.
I wasn’t able to source the rules directly to the NFL in time to get this issue of The Magill Report out at a reasonable hour this week. However, I was able to find several sources that spelled out the rules consistently to how I remember them from my time as business editor for The New York Sun.
According to an entry on eHow:
Without the clear permission of the NFL, [promoters] broadcasters and other media may not use the following terms or images:
The Super Bowl logo
"NFL," "AFC" or "NFC"
"The National Football League"
"American Football Conference"
"National Football Conference"
Any team name or nickname
Media outlets may state the following terms and information 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
So to all those emailers who are using “Super Bowl” in their promotions, or one or more of the other protected NFL names or marks: It would be wise to stop.