Can’t Use “Super Bowl”: The annual occurrence of the Super Bowl entails the championship contest between two organizations. While the NFL generates excitement surrounding the season’s matchup, other brands also seek to exploit the surge in popularity. Unfortunately, they cannot claim the title “Super Bowl” until they purchase an advertisement spot during the prestigious event.
Your local establishment may not be allowed to advertise it, even if it is organizing a ticketed event. Why does that occur? There is a compelling rationale for this.
The utilization of the trademarked term “Super Bowl” in advertising is strictly prohibited for corporations.
The NFL has, to their detriment, registered as a trademark the phrase “Super Bowl.” Organizations, brands, and individuals have emerged with humorous substitutes throughout the years to promote their events and coverage. Stephen Colbert, in his renowned parody coverage of the game, famously dubbed the event the Superb Owl by simply shifting a letter and interspersing sporadic anecdotes featuring owls.
Conversely, promotional materials for it often simply refer to it as “game day” or “the big game” by taverns and other businesses. Buffalo Wild Wings cannot use the term “Super Bowl special” to refer to their endeavor. Nevertheless, certain organizations devise innovative strategies to circumvent the constraints.
According to Modern Retail, Ollie implemented a social media campaign to promote dog adoption through a product giveaway known as their “Supper Bowl Extravaganza.” UrbanStems, a flower company, collaborated on its “Biggest Fumble” advertisement with a former 49ers tight end. ESPN uses the same moniker as Delta, which was “the professional football championship” in the past.
The NFL needs to submit letters of cessation to retain ownership of its trademark.
While the NFL has shown no interest in allowing other companies to use the designation “Super Bowl,” it continues to issue cease-and-desist letters. It dominates sales and competition, and any business or organization that uses the name does so solely for the excitement and grandeur they connote.
The NFL continues to send letters to individuals, attempting to dissuade them from using the name carelessly. In 2007, an individual issued a cease-and-desist letter to an Indiana church that had planned to charge a nominal admission fee for a viewing party.
The Motley Fool questioned NFL league representative Brian McCarthy regarding the “Super Bowl” trademark:
Undoubtedly, we send dozens of cease-and-desist letters to organizations suspected of violating the intellectual property rights of the NFL, including the game, on an annual basis. However, we prefer to withhold the names of those companies. The game holds a position as one of the most widely recognized brands and events on a global scale. We have invested heavily in safeguarding the goodwill that we have cultivated for the past four and a half decades.
Because the NFL cannot possibly monitor every inch of the United States, people will keep hosting Super Bowl parties. Corporations must pay millions of dollars for 30-second commercial breaks during the game to say “Super Bowl.”