Kevin’s Eleven: Brand Names That Have Supplanted The Generic Names list

Sometimes, a commercial product becomes so successful that it becomes the standard name for everything of its ilk, even though it may be a specific company’s name for a product. The representative name may be due to market dominance, being the first of its kind, or a result of a massive advertising campaign. Look at the list and you’ll get what I mean.

1. iPod vs mp3 player or DAP/PMP: In the beginning, Apple’s iPod only played audio (mp3 files or Apple-format AAC files), now it can play video, so it has moved beyond the DAP (digital audio player) into the PMP (portable media player) category. However, there are more brands of other players such that iPod isn’t anywhere close to being correct. The iPod wasn’t even the first DAP on the market. Imagine calling your current girl/boyfriend by someone else’s name – that’s how insulting it is to refer to all other media players as an iPod.

2. Band-Aid vs adhesive bandage: Band-Aid is a registered trademark of Johnson & Johnson.

3. Kleenex vs facial tissue: Not all tissues are made by Kleenex, which is a registered trademark of Kimberly-Clark Worldwide, Inc.

4. Q-Tip vs cotton swab: Q-Tip is a registered trademark of Unilever.

5. Xerox vs photocopy machine: The Xerox corporation makes photocopy machines, as do plenty of other companies, like Canon, Samsung, Ikon, and Kodak.

6. Post-It Note vs sticky notes: Post-It and even the yellow color are trademarks of the 3M corporation.

7. Scotch Tape vs clear adhesive tape: Scotch Tape is a registered trademark of the 3M corporation.

8. Styrofoam vs polystyrene: Styrofoam is a registered trademark of the Dow Chemical Company. Your coffee cups and packing peanuts do not look anything like real Styrofoam (which doesn’t break into beads).

9. George Foreman grill vs electric grill: It seems that any electric grill with a folding lid can be mistaken for a Foreman grill. This is due to successful marketing. It isn’t even that revolutionary. It claims to reduce the amount of fat in your grilled foods. How does it do this? The laziest way possible: gravity. Tilt the grill surface at an angle and the fat/oil will drain out on its own.

10. Tylenol vs aspirin: Tylenol is a registered trademark of Johnson & Johnson. This one doesn’t even make sense because they have different chemical compounds (and therefore are different products, like #8). Even though they are intended to treat the same symptoms, they do it in different ways, and customers often choose one or the other based on the treatment method (or to avoid certain side effects). Tylenol contains acetaminophen, while generic aspirin contains ibuprofen.

11. Boeing vs airplane: Boeing is just one company that makes passenger aircraft. Other major manufacturers include Airbus, Mcdonnell Douglas, and Learjet.

Just missed – Atari/Nintendo/Playstation vs video games: At first, people played Atari, then they played Nintendo. Now, it seems that all video games are “Playstation.” Again, this is more common among the older crowds who didn’t grow up around the games and were unaware (or less aware) of other game consoles.

Nike vs sneakers/athletic shoes: This one doesn’t work so much anymore, with so many brands on the market and a savvier public. There was a time that the older generation referred to all non-dress shoes as Nikes.

Frisbee vs flying disc: most flying discs in stores are actually Frisbee brand, though the growing sport of disc golf has allowed other manufacturers to create their own version.

Doesn’t count: Polaroid – they are/were the only ones to make a camera that uses the instant chemical film (which was also made by Polaroid and Fuji).

Whenever I hear someone refer to a product by a brand name that isn’t correct, that person appears stupid and uninformed. Read, remember, and learn.

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2 Responses to Kevin’s Eleven: Brand Names That Have Supplanted The Generic Names list

  1. Scott Gualco says:

    I’ve got another one to add: the “PowerPoint presentation.”

    PowerPoint is a trademark of Microsoft. Yet, all my lecturers and professors ask me to make “PowerPoint presentations.” So… if I made a “KeyNote presentation” or an “OpenOffice presentation” or a “NeoOffice presentation,” would those not be acceptable?

  2. klew says:

    Make the presentation with whatever program you like, but it would then be unacceptable for it to be called a Powerpoint presentation. It becomes your responsibility to correct them, and to accept a lower grade for not following directions or not gaining prior permission to use alternate software.

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