How does a company get around copyright and trademark over-zealotry? By being bitter about intellectual property rights.
In Samsung’s commercial about making a SuperBowl commercial (so meta, you guys), Bob Odenkirk — best known as the lawyer Saul “better call Saul” Goodman from AMC’s Breaking Bad — asks comedians Seth Rogan and Paul Rudd to pitch ideas for some new product (flashed at us for only a mere three seconds).
The trio then spend the next minute hashing out how exactly to even make a commercial when they are muffled by legal precedent and unable to speak any of the trademarked names (they are constantly shushed by Odenkirk before they can finish them, but it’s clear what’s been unsaid). The Super Bowl becomes “the big game” and ultimately “el plato supremo”, while the Baltimore Ravens and San Francisco 49ers are re-nicknamed the “black birds” and the “fifty minus one-ers”. At which point they all laugh and embrace “hashtags” because twitter hasn’t been smart enough to trademark that term yet.
Samsung doesn’t deserve a free pass on intellectual property abuse themselves. Ironically, and rather hypocritically, Samsung has previously partnered with the International Olympic Committee — one of the most notorious trademark enforcers around the world.
And consider the following: If anyone made a widely broadcasted commercial without clearance (“hey guys, go download the new Hammer of Truth’s message notification buddy app widget thingie, which works awesome on my Samsung Android” *holds up $40 flip phone from 2004 for camera*), Samsung’s legal department would certainly be sending out cease and desist letters. For a company that has spent millions of dollars on litigating against the little guy, for them to hire three multi-millionaire actors to play the roles of potential chilling effect victims is only convincing… because they hired convincing actors.
Regardless, for a commercial focused on the inanity of legal hurdles involved in making commercials, it’s a well deserved poke in the eye of copyright laws.
Unfortunately, I have no idea what they’re selling.