Sponsor tie-ins

As we mentioned, the billions companies spend to become official NFL sponsors don't prevent competitors from running ads during the big game.

It does, however, prevent those competitors from using certain trademarked phrases such as "Super Bowl," "Baltimore Ravens" and "San Francisco 49ers" that might help tie the product they're selling to the event. In the case of Papa John's ( PZZA), the NFL's official pizza sponsor, the company gets to set up an online sweepstakes that awards Papa John's Rewards members with free pizza if they correctly guess the outcome of the pregame coin toss. That's no slight edge, considering that its rivals at Yum Brands' ( YUM) Pizza Hut are planning to give away a mystery promotional product as part of its own Super Bowl - umm, "big game" -- ad blitz.

Official NFL soft drink sponsor Pepsi ( PEP), meanwhile, gets to dress up its packaging in Super Bowl logos and Vince Lombardi trophies and use its ties to the game to give away 1 million free bottles of Pepsi Next to viewers who sign into the PepsiNext.com website after the ad airs.

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