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Why It Pays to Think Like an Athlete
By: Briskman Stanfield
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Just as fast as you can say, "Holy superathlete, Batman," these “A” guys are showing off cerebral skills in addition to physical prowess, and they're making sure they stake claim to their big ideas. Athletes who coin popular phrases or inspire fan slogans are seeking legal protection for their ‘hip’ talk and ensuring that the use of their latest relevant catchphrases will give credit where credit is due. The New York Times recently reported that Jet’s cornerback Darrelle Revis has filed for trademark protection for the popular phrase “Revis Island,” which is used by his teammates to describe his stellar control over the field, with the United States Patent and Trademark Office. This will register the term for use on “T-shirts, sweatshirts, sweat pants, hats, footwear, sleepwear, and swimwear." 
 
Revis is just one of the many athletes who are monetizing words by registering for federal trademark protection of "names, nicknames and even their catchphrases."
 
In the past, athletes have filed for many famous sayings including:
“Stomp You Out,” by former Giants defensive end Michael Strahan
“I Love Me Some Me,” by Bengals wide receiver Terrell Owens
“Manny Being Manny,” claimed, and later abandoned, by baseball slugger Manny Ramirez
“Got Strange?” by Vikings defensive end Jared Allen

Athletes and other sports personnel have been working to take their brands into arenas beyond the playing field for many years. In 1989, Pat Riley (Los Angeles Lakers coach) obtained a trademark for the phrase “three-peat.” He later confessed he didn’t really invent term, but his actions demonstrate that trademarking nicknames and phrases isn't a new strategy. New or not, it is happening more often. Although no official statistics are kept on the issue, intellectual property lawyers are saying that "the practice has accelerated in recent years as athletes and sports figures seek to extend their brands into the entertainment world."

While the advertising world spends long hours trying to nail the next "phase of the decade" and achieve successful marketing campaigns, these athletes can strike gold with one popular phrase or nickname. “Let’s get ready to rumble” wasn't created by an athlete, but it did originate from sports announcer Michael Buffer, whose trademark has brought him thousands of dollars. Michael Buffer is said to receive $15,000 to $30,000 to make an appearance and shout his slogan. Not bad for a day’s work.

Athletes are tuning in to spontaneously generated slogans, nicknames, and other brand-related phrases that could potentially bring in a profit, and they're taking immediate steps to protect those words. Ad agencies and creatives can use this tactic by staying aware of both online and offline social environments. This kind of attention could be key to finding the next magic catchphrases and claiming them while they're hot.


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About the Author

Briskman Stanfield is a freelance copywriter and all-around, behind-the-scenes team player.

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