Powered by i.TV
April 16, 2014

Should the NFL let ads use the words "Super Bowl"?

by Joel Keller, posted Jan 30th 2006 3:37PM
Super Bowl XL logoI started noticing this a few years ago, but it now seems to be more prevalent than ever: ads referring to the Super Bowl as "The Big Game".

You know what I'm talking about: "Want to rent a big screen TV before The Big Game? Go to Rent-A-Center!" "Want to make a great bean dip before The Big Game? Buy it at ShopRite!" And so on and so forth.

It's pretty easy to figure out what's going on here: A few years ago, the NFL, seeing that tons of companies make money off their Super Bowl trademark, decided to crack down on the use of the name and only allow official licensees to mention it.

(P.S. make sure you enter the TV Squad Super Bowl Squares game soon!)


I fully understand; they weren't receiving one cent from these stores or gambling sites that used a trademarked name to boost their profits. But hearing "The Big Game" all the time is distracting, isn't it? All I want to do when I hear it is yell, Sam Kinison-style,  "Just say 'Super Bowl'! Say it! Say it!" And I'm sure most of you feel the same way, albeit a bit less intensely.

So, is there a way to get around this? Should the NFL allow the name to be used because, like Kleenex or Thermos, it has entered the lexicon? Or are they in the right here (I think they're right, but it's still annoying)? Let me know in the comments.

Add a Comment

*0 / 3000 Character Maximum

5 Comments

Filter by:
Don Buer

Its not trademark infringement if you are referring to the Super Bowl. Its only an infringement if you use the words to describe a different event. You can always add the tm symbol and a statement (in very fine print) attributing ownership of the Super Bowl name to the NFL. Also, their claim I can't have the Super Bowl on more than one TV in my home and the one TV must not be larger than 55" is pure B.S.. Over-the-Air television signals can be picked up and viewed by anyone as long as they are unencrypted or you have a legal decryption device. The same is probably true for cable.

Such may be NFL rules but the NFL does not make law.

February 02 2007 at 3:32 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
mrohlfer

Thanks for bringing this up;I've been looking for commentary on this subject. I too have noticed these oblique references to the "big game" increasing over the last few years. And while I assumed that trademark protection was at the bottom of it I fail to see how,say, an ad for a big screen TV is going to infringe. It seems that it is only a bit more hype for this already egregiously overhyped product.

January 27 2007 at 12:16 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Don Wilson

Nope, they have no need to include the term "Super Bowl" into their ad, unless they want to limit their viewing of that commercial to a few hours.

"it's free advertising!" Yeah, for the event that the viewer is already intaking. Excellent advertising strategy.

February 05 2006 at 11:38 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Jason Simmons

The NFL should allow companies to use their logo, htat is, free of charge.

After all, it's free advertising!


January 31 2006 at 11:01 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Tankko

See, here is the problem. According to trademark law, if you don't defend your trademark, you loose it. So, when you see companies being asses about people using their trademarks, it not so much that they *want* to be jerks, but they have to. If they don't enforce it, they will loose it and then any company can come out with a product and slap that name on it.

It's why you hear "Kleenex brand tissues" in their adds. They are being clear (for trademark legal reason) that you know it's a Brand, not the generic name.

If the NFL let people use the name, then they would loose control over it.

What they should do is have a liberal licensing policy that allows just about anyone to use it in the limited scopes of adds for the Super Bowl.

January 30 2006 at 3:47 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Follow Us

From Our Partners