The Real Names of Brand Name Products

December 1, 2010 at 2:00 am 18 comments

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.

Broken Secrets

Subscribe on: Facebook | Twitter | Email | Kindle

Sources: Reflections of Pop Culture & Life’s ChallengesThe Washington Post, About.com

Photo: Roadsidepictures (cc)

Entry filed under: Around The House, History and Origins. Tags: , , , , , , , , , .

The Most Popular Types of Liquor Why They’re Called White Elephant Gift Exchanges

18 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Autumn  |  December 1, 2010 at 11:12 am

    “Coke” to refer to soda in general is more of a regional thing. If you’re referring to the Coke/Pepsi milieu (i.e. beverages which evolved from those flavored with kola nut), cola is more accurate. This may also be a distortion of the Coca-Cola brand name, though, as the flavor was originally called (of course) kola.

    Reply
  • 2. Catalyst  |  December 1, 2010 at 11:46 am

    You left off one of the most common ones – Xerox!

    Reply
    • 3. makaleigh  |  October 23, 2011 at 6:41 pm

      they left out Xeroxing and Popsicle!!
      Grrrrrr!!!

      Reply
  • 4. evil taco  |  December 1, 2010 at 1:29 pm

    it’s not clear tape. It’s cellophane tape.

    Reply
  • 5. Paul  |  December 1, 2010 at 5:45 pm

    it’s not clear tape. It’s NOT cellophane tape. Its sticky tape!! : )

    Reply
    • 6. Makandriaco  |  July 10, 2013 at 12:26 pm

      Its not clear tape, not cellophane tape, not sticky tape… Its scotch tape!!! … Oh, we are back at the begining… LOL

      Reply
  • 7. Jim  |  December 1, 2010 at 9:56 pm

    They’re also called proprietary eponyms.
    Here’s a bunch: http://www.searstower.org/rkrause/brands.html

    Reply
  • 8. saricima  |  December 2, 2010 at 7:53 pm

    how ’bout Velcro? aka- hook and loop tape.

    Reply
  • 9. cole  |  December 6, 2010 at 4:01 am

    I wouldn’t be caught dead calling them “Kleenex.” But we’re Puffs people. d=

    I also agree about Coke being a regional thing. In fact, I’ve only ever heard reference to Coke equaling soda in the media. I’ve never actually witnessed it.

    I’m curious if anyone uses Kotex in this context. I’ve never heard of that and the brand itself is super uncommon these days. A modern version would probably be Always

    Reply
  • 10. Craig  |  January 20, 2011 at 6:08 pm

    Another common one is calling a spa or hot tub a “Jacuzzi”.

    Reply
  • 11. Jan Edmondson  |  February 12, 2011 at 1:56 pm

    How about Formica?

    Reply
  • 12. Brandicionado » Say My Name. Say My Name.  |  February 20, 2011 at 4:59 pm

    [...] About.com, The Washington Post, Broken Secrets, Database of American Proprietary Eponyms, Brand Names that We Call Generic [...]

    Reply
  • 13. Osababobafett  |  June 30, 2011 at 8:50 pm

    Jet Ski :D

    Reply
  • 14. makaleigh  |  October 23, 2011 at 6:46 pm

    They left out Xeroxing and Popsicle!!
    Grrrrrr………….

    Reply
  • 15. Nick  |  November 6, 2011 at 6:26 pm

    Saran Wrap

    Reply
  • 16. Tachuffney  |  February 4, 2012 at 10:42 pm

    What about Cellotape, Hoover, Tannoy, & Typex?

    Reply
  • 17. Makandriaco  |  July 10, 2013 at 12:39 pm

    How about a PC? it was actually the brand name for IBM Personal Computer before the XP or AT. Did you ever had a Twinkie? (that was popular some time ago). Drink some Kool-Aid. Pack it with Styrofoam. Highlight it wit a Hi-Liter. Lego, Walkman, And i have heard people calling any cerial “Cheerios”

    Reply
  • 18. référencement bing  |  March 10, 2014 at 7:52 pm

    You are sso awesome! I do not suppoose I’ve truly read through anything like this before.
    So good too find somebody with a few unique thoughts oon this issue.

    Really.. many thanks for starting this up. This site is one thing that’s needed on the web,
    someone with a little originality!

    Reply

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

Trackback this post  |  Subscribe to the comments via RSS Feed


Follow Broken Secrets

Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Join 5,680 other followers

Big Awards


Best Personal Blog/Website (People's Voice)


W3 Award - Copy Writing

Read Secrets on Your Kindle

Categories

Play Hashi Link

Contact Info


Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 5,680 other followers

%d bloggers like this: