Why Most Super Bowl Advertisers Can’t Say ‘Super Bowl’ in Their Super Bowl Ads

The NFL’s strict rules are preventing companies from using the term

The National Football League has trademarked the term “Super Bowl,” which means companies aren’t allowed to state “Super Bowl” without permission from the organization, reported TIME magazine’s website.

So Super Bowl advertisers who aren’t willing to fork out sizable checks to use the phrase have come up with creative alternatives. Take Delta Airlines who refers to the Super Bowl as “the pro football championship,” while Nike has used the phrase “Championship Sunday.” Miller Lite, the alcohol company has turned to a generic phrase by describing the highly-watched match as “pre-game coverage.” But Southwest Airlines was more creative. The airlines company Tweeted after the NFL’s final four games on Sunday, Jan. 18: “Did you hear that in the sky? Lots of cheers & tears. Free Inflight TV will carry the next game, if you’re flying on a WiFi-enabled flight!”

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In fact, the NFL’s lawyers have a stack of cease and desist letters ready to go, if any brands use the term without permission, according to SBNation.com. Back in 2010, Budweiser decided to sign a six-year Super Bowl sponsorship deal valued at over $1 billion. In 2014, some Super Bowl ads were $4 million, reported to USA Today. A 30-second Super Bowl spot has a production cost that’s about $1 million and, based on the out-of-the-box concept planned, some ads can double or even triple in the millions.

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