Clever Commercial for Super Bowl XLVII, or 'El Plato Supreme'

Post date: Feb 1, 2013 9:16:58 PM

I was just sent an email from a dedicated reader (HT: CJM) with a video for a commercial that will air this Sunday, February 3, 2013, during Super Bowl XLVII. The commercial features three well-known actors -- including one of my favorite fictional attorneys, Saul Goodman from Breaking Bad -- sitting around discussing ideas for Samsung in relation to the Super Bowl.

For a quick primer on the intellectual property rights revolving around the Super Bowl, check out this post I did back in February 2011: Super Bowl (TM) Weekend and IP Rights

Long story short, the term SUPER BOWL is a trademark of the NFL and heavily protected. In fact, a story came out just over a week ago how the NFL demanded that the trademark rights in the term HARBOWL be turned over to them. Here is a link to an article for those interested in reading more. For a quick digression, my take on that issue is the applicant would have had a good argument to maintain the mark, but he would have faced heavy resistance from the NFL, which would have tried to bury him in legal documents and attorney fees. And it looks like some of the law professors quoted in the article would agree with me.

Ok, back to the main topic. After reading my past blog entry, it should be clear what the actors in the commercial are doing. Just like many other businesses, Samsung is trying to piggyback on the Super Bowl, but they cannot actually say the protected term. What results is a creative way to convey a message to the audience without *technically* using any trademarked terms.

As a summary, here are the terms that they decide on, compared with the trademark they are trying to avoid:

  • Trademark: Baltimore Ravens

      • Commercial uses: "Baltimore black birds"

  • Trademark: San Francisco 49ers

      • Commercial uses: "San Francisco 50 minus 1ers"

  • Trademark: Super Bowl

      • Commercial uses: "El Plato Supreme" (Spanish for "big plate")

      • Commercial uses: "The Big Game"

Enjoy the commercial (video below) and the El Plato Supreme this weekend.