The Real Names of Brand Name Products
By Kaye Nemec
The weather is getting cold and the air is getting dry. We’re going through more Kleenex and additional Chapstick. We’re cooking warm meals in our Crock Pots and soon we’ll be getting out the wrapping paper and Scotch Tape to prepare for the holidays.
Kleenex, Chapstick, Crock Pots and Scotch Tape are all things that have become common, household names and most of us don’t think twice before calling them by these titles. Like many other popular products, the brand names have become more widely used than their original names. Replacing generic names with brand names has become so common that they have even coined a term for it – Genericide.
Below is a list of items that we commonly use the brand name for instead of the actual name.
- Kleenex – tissue
- Chapstick – lip balm
- Crock Pot – slow cooker
- Scotch Tape – clear tape
- Bubble Wrap – inflated cushioning
- Rollerblades – in-line skates
- Kotex – feminine care products
- Band-Aid – bandage
- Q-tip – cotton swab, ear buds, ear sticks
- White Out – correction fluid
- Coke – soda/pop
- Frisbee – flying disc
- Jell-O – gelatin dessert
- JumboTron – large screen television
- Post-its – sticky notes
- Speedo – skin-tight swim briefs
- Tupperware – storage containers
- Ziploc – zipper bags or zip-top bags
In many cases, the product name seems awkward compared to the brand name.
We have even turned some brand names into verbs. Google has become so popular that when people are looking something up they will often say they are “Googling” it. When someone is cleaning with a disposable towel mop, they may call it “Swiffering”, whether they are using a Swiffer branded product or not.
Brands whose products have evolved into generic, household terms, fear that competitors will eventually take their name and, essentially, their brand away from them. In fact, a few products that you’ve probably heard of have already lost their trademark protection and are now able to be called by their previous brand name by any manufacturer. Examples include, Escalator, Yo-Yo, Zipper, Thermos and Aspirin.
Photo: Roadsidepictures (cc)