Editor’s Notes: Booper Soul
First off, I’ve got to give a shout-out to blog poster Vasco DaGameboy for my headline this month. His (or her?) use of this term to refer to the Super Bowl in a Feb. 2, 2006, posting to Techdirt struck me as a super representation of what has become a downright ludicrous trademark battle. Well, it’s not actually a battle because the National Football League, which owns the trademark, has been super effective in scaring off all uses of the event’s name in any context outside of sponsors’ communications.
What started my research into this super silly scuffle was a mailing from the telco/cable/Internet company Qwest that was received by the Who’s Mailing What! Archive, a direct mail research service in the Target Marketing Group. In the self-mailer, Qwest offered customers the chance to win tickets to “football’s hottest game” or “the game in Glendale, AZ, on Feb. 3.” For three panels, the marketer awkwardly danced around the name of the football game, which only served to underscore how far super stupid trademark enforcement has gone.
I can understand the NFL wanting to safeguard the branding value of this major event for its exclusive sponsors. (If you hadn’t noticed, just about every “moment” in the game is funded by an advertiser, not to mention official pre- and post-event shows, and a host of other advertising opportunities.) But it becomes super idiotic when organizations—that bought tickets to offer in contests to their customers and prospects—have to print “football’s hottest ticket on Feb. 3” in their promotions. This mailing from Qwest implied no connection with the NFL or the event, just ownership of two tickets that customers and prospects could win. I think that if you pony up the significant amount of money it costs to purchase tickets to the Super Bowl, you ought to be able to name the event for those tickets.