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Thursday, December 18, 2003

Ambush Marketing and the Super Bowl: The Houston Chronicle has an article detailing the ambush marketing going on leading up to the Super Bowl and the NFL's attempts to prevent its million dollar sponsors such as Coors, Pepsico and General Motors. Ambush marketing, made famous by Nike at the 1996 Olympics, is where a rival company to an official sponsor buys ad space in and around key venues, hoping to receive exposure and association with major events. Legally, the practice cannot be prevented, so long as the ambusher does not make reference to the event specifically or infringe on any event trademark.

The NFL's lawyers have already notified numerous Houston advertisers that they may be in violation of trademark laws by referencing "Super Bowl XXXVIII." In a move that is becoming all too common, however, the NFL has also gone after small businesses that merely reference the Super Bowl in an ad, such as a BBQ restaurant that welcomes people to come fill their "pre-Super Bowl needs" for their "Super Bowl parties." The NFL should allow local businesses to capitalize on the game, so long as they do not hold themselves out to be an official sponsor or associated with the event.

Thanks to the Sports Business News for the pointing out the story.


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