Do you use the genericized brand name or the real word?

Discussion in 'Community Discussion' started by dontwalkhand, Jun 30, 2009.

  1. dontwalkhand macrumors 601


    Jul 5, 2007
    Phoenix, AZ
    If there is one thing that I could fix in the world that doesn't involve politics, social issues (social issues) ando ther "large" problems of the world, it would have to be this...

    Why is it that some people call...

    Every Soda a "Coke"
    Every Tissue paper a "Kleenex"
    Every Copier a "Xerox"
    Every MP3 Player an "iPod"

    What now, is every computer a Mac? ;-)
    Every phone an iPhone?
    Every OS MacOS?
    Every Car a Ford?

    What are the limits, and when do people know where to stop, because I do not know anyone who would call a PC a Mac, but the same person calls every soda a "Coke."

    COKE IS A BRAND! So is Kleenex, and Xerox is near bankruptcy!
  2. waterskier2007 macrumors 68000


    Jun 19, 2007
    Novi, MI
    the difference between the ones you listed and then the exaggerations that you made, is that in the first instances, the brand name one was for the most part the popular brand in that category (coke, ipod...) so i feel that is why people use that brand name. however with the computer or car example, those are not necessarily the most popular brand, definitely not mac (considering low market share, which sucks).
  3. adk macrumors 68000


    Nov 11, 2005
    Stuck in the middle with you
  4. Dagless macrumors Core


    Jan 18, 2005
    Fighting to stay in the EU
    I don't use brand names except when talking about Sellotape (Cellotape?). Is Coca Cola even a soda?
  5. Unspoken Demise macrumors 68040

    Unspoken Demise

    Apr 16, 2009
    Coke for me. I am guilty of calling all those things except the printer by the commonly associated brand.

    IDK why.
  6. arkitect macrumors 603


    Sep 5, 2005
    Bath, United Kingdom
    If I want a Coke, I'll ask for a Coke… but I usually ask for Pepsi.

    Although, I do hoover to keep the floors free of dust, even though I use a Dyson. ;)
  7. it5five macrumors 65816


    May 31, 2006
    New York
    I'm guilty of using brands to name a product, like most people, except in the case of Baind-Aids, which I call "adhesive bandages".
  8. Love macrumors 68000


    Jan 20, 2007
    Just southeast of Northwestshire
    How many of you have said "styrofoam"? Styrofoam is a registered trademark of Dow Chemical for their insulation products. What packages your ____ product is polystyrene foam, of which Styrofoam™ is based on.

    I call a soda a pop, because I live in Canada.
    I say Kleenex.
    I say MP3 player if it's not an iPod.
  9. steve2112 macrumors 68040


    Feb 20, 2009
    East of Lyra, Northwest of Pegasus
    Have you noticed that the Band-Aid theme song now says "I'm stuck on Band-Aid brand"? I noticed they added that a few years ago, probably to reinforce that they are a brand name, not a generic label.

    I'm guilty of a few of these. I say Kleenex and Band Aid. I also do it with things Tylenol, Advil, or Sudafed. Mostly because it's easier to remember and say those brands than the actual drug names. Also, being a good Southern boy, I find myself saying Coke when I know I actually want something else.

    As far as why people do this, it's mostly marketing. Usually, this happens when one brand achieves dominance in a market. For a long time, Xerox was the leading copier manufacturer, and lots of businesses had them in the office. People just associated Xerox with copying stuff. Apple has such a huge market share of the MP3 player market, that it is easy to see why people just call any portable player an iPod. Look at the accessories: 90% of them are designed for iPods. Microsoft has about 90% of the PC OS market share, so people just associate PC with Windows.
  10. mscriv macrumors 601


    Aug 14, 2008
    Dallas, Texas
    Welcome to the world of "slang" terminology. The American english language is notorious for generalizations, exaggerations, and expressions that are in no way accurate in reality. However, in every day usage these terms or phrases take on their own definitions and applications. This practice even crosses into the relationship of brand names to product classifications. That's why english is one of the hardest languages to learn in the world. There are definite rules to grammar and vocabulary, but in actual use the rules don't often apply. This will undoubtedly get worse as the languages of texting, email, "tweeting," and chat become more prevalent.

    And don't forget that often geography also plays a part in this. For example, I'm from the South so to me all carbonated beverages can be referred to as "coke". Every waiter in the South knows that when the customer says I'll have coke that you need to follow up with, "what kind?" :D
  11. coolwater macrumors 6502a


    Jun 8, 2009
    Actually, that is every marketer's dream.

    Companies who achieve that status must feel proud of themselves. It is a rare achievement.

    However, achieving that iconic status is one thing, and keeping it is another--i.e. more people start to use the word 'copy' instead of 'xerox' because Xerox is not what it used to be.
  12. MarkCollette macrumors 68000


    Mar 6, 2003
    Toronto, Canada
    Rollerblade is a brand name? Crazy. What would you even call them generically?
  13. Counterfit macrumors G3


    Aug 20, 2003
    sitting on your shoulder
    Except that once the brand name has been genericized, the company loses trademark protections on that brand name. So, no, they won't be proud.

    In-line roller skates?
  14. MacVixen macrumors 6502

    Jan 26, 2009
    Santa Cruz, CA
    never would have guessed that *escalator* was originally a trademarked name...
    I'm very guilty of using trademarked names as generic. Makes life much easier as most will know what I am talking about even if I am not talking about a particular brand.
  15. Eraserhead macrumors G4


    Nov 3, 2005
    I use Coke to refer to any cola, hoover to refer to a vacuum cleaner. But I wouldn't use iPod to refer to a non Apple MP3 player.
  16. it5five macrumors 65816


    May 31, 2006
    New York
    Exactly. I was listening to something related to this on NPR a week or so ago. Most companies dread become genericized. They were talking specifically about Google, who have been trying to fight the word "google" being introduced into dictionaries.
  17. coolwater macrumors 6502a


    Jun 8, 2009
    Who needs trademark protection when you can get tens of millions of free publicity???

    If I invent a small gadget, I'd rather have millions of free publicity than a trademark protection.

    Also, while people all over the world may use the term 'xerox' freely, no other copier can name itself 'Xerox'. It will still be protected under trademark.
  18. it5five macrumors 65816


    May 31, 2006
    New York
    If you're really interested in why companies don't want to become genericized, listen to the first half of this show.
  19. Antares macrumors 68000


    Yeah, I can see some people being confused. Moreso with people outside the specific culture which the slang is used. Though, some terms are pretty universal. Like saying, "playing Nintendo" actually means playing it Playstation, Xbox or on the computer...not just an actual Nintendo. Anyone would get that.

    I personally try not using brand names but slip up out of sheer habit. It's too easy just to use the dominant brand name as that is what most people likely own/use.
  20. JNB macrumors 604


    Oct 7, 2004
    In a Hell predominately of my own making
    And don't forget you soak away the day's tensions in a Jacuzzi™. Or is that just a hot tub?

    As far as Xerox, that was a backed-into name if there ever was one. When the process of dry electrophotographic copying was perfected by Carlson and the Haloid Company, they made up a name to describe it, "Xerography." They then renamed themselves "Xerox." So in a sense, Xerox as a generic name is just shorthand for the process, and actually fairly appropriate.
  21. InvalidUserID macrumors 6502a


    Sep 7, 2008
    Palo Alto, CA
    I use the real word.

    The only words that I can think of that I use the branch name is neosporin because "topical antibiotic cream" sounds weird.

    Oh and KY. Sounds much better than describing the actual product...
  22. emt1 macrumors 65816

    Jan 30, 2008
    Brands I generalize:


    That's all.
  23. instaxgirl macrumors 65816


    Mar 11, 2009
    Edinburgh, UK
    I use the brand name and don't care about using a generic name.

    I don't use a lot of your examples though. Apart from anything else, it took me ages to realise what the hell a band aid even was :eek:

    But I rollerblade, and hoover, and google.
  24. Abstract macrumors Penryn


    Dec 27, 2002
    Location Location Location
    I don't say any of those, although I've used "Kleenex" instead of "tissue" on occasion. However, this is rare.

    No, no, no, and no. ;)

    Guilty of both. :eek:

    What is the generic name for "Band-aids"? Are they bandages? I always envision bandages being larger, possibly wrapping around a limb.

    Guilty. I didn't even know this!!

    Inline skates, because the wheels are in-line. ;)

    EDIT TO ADD: How do you pronounce the word "either"? Is it "ee-ther", or "ai-ther"?? :confused:
  25. Love macrumors 68000


    Jan 20, 2007
    Just southeast of Northwestshire
    Brands I generalize: (expanded)
    Slurpee (instead of frozen soda drink)
    I usually call any debit card or credit card a MasterCard
    ATM or ABM I usually call "InstaBank" machines (™ of BMO Bank of Montreal)
    Instead of laptop I usually just call it my Mac
    DVRs/PVRs I call TiVO
    Any courier service = FedEx
    Verb/Using a courier service = FedExing
    Polystyrene packaging foam = Styrofoam
    Band-Aid = latex adhesive bandages

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