Sunday, November 22, 2009

Top 40 Generic Brands - in Alphabetical order

Advertising builds brand awareness and image. This in turn drives brand sales, loyalty, margins etc. But, what happens when advertising and marketing get “so successful” that consumers associate the brand name to the product so precisely that the TM name starts to lose its meaning? How common is this issue? I’ll start this topic off by chronicling my Top 40 “genericized” brand names with a few comments. Any surprises?

Astroturf __ Do you know who said this: "I owned an El Camino pickup in the '70s. It was a real sort of Southern deal. I had Astroturf in the back. You don't want to know why, but I did." By the way, is he sure it was Astroturf brand and not another competitor making artificial turf?" (Answer: Bill Clinton)

Band Aid __ "Mommy I got a booboo. I need a sterile strip."

Chapstick __ Wyeth brand of 'lip balm'.

Coke __ How would the cliche teen movie pick-up line sound if it became "Hamburger, fries, a cola and your phone number please."

Crock Pot __ The original slow-cooker.

Dumpster __ An American brand of trash receptacle that was founded by the Dempster brothers.

Fiberglass __ A brand of glass-based insulation. The company did an interesting job of differentiating its brand with its pink campaign in the 1980s.

Frisbee __ It`s a lot more fun for Skippy to catch a Frisbee than a `flying disk`.

Google __ "While most of the generic brands were the first to successfully commercial in their industry, what is so interesting about Google is that was about the 20th entrant into this space. If you don't believe me, Google it."

Hula-hoop __ Technically, it's just another brand of "toy hoops".

Jacuzzi __ "Generic product is ""water-jet bath."" The Italian sounding name gives it some geography of origin sex appeal."

Jeep __ Chrysler's brand that is the original SUV.

Jell-o __ Kraft's "geletin dessert" that is soon to be celebrating 100 years.

Jet Ski
__ Zooming around on a Jet Ski sounds a lot cooler than 'personal recreational watercraft.'

Jumbotron __ Sony's brand of stadium display screens. Sony JumboTrons ceased being sold in 2001, when the company decided to exit the business.

Kleenex __ "Could you please pass me the 'paper tissues' please?"

Lego __ Construction toy' brand based in Denmark.

Nylon __ From toothbrush tips to women's stockings, Dupont's brand keeps you looking your best. Maybe not when you consider 70s fashion.

Pingpong __ The Olympic event is "table tennis"- and this is dominated by the Chinese. I wonder if they practice on the Ping Pong brand

Play-doh __ How strong is this brand name in the consumer's mind? The brand recall from the smell alone is close to 100%.

Plexiglas __ There are lots of competing brands of transparent thermoplastic. Eg. Policril, Plexiglas, Gavrieli, Vitroflex, Limacryl, R-Cast, Per-Clax, Perspex, Plazcryl, Acrylex, Acrylite, Acrylplast, Altuglas, Polycast, Oroglass, and Optix. But, Plexiglas is the only one we've ever heard of.

Polaroid __ Shake it like a Polaroid picture.

__ Unilever TM of "iced pop". That's the real ice ice, baby.

__ There is nothing better than safety cotton swabs.

Rollerblade __ "It’s a beautiful day today. Let's go 'in-line skating.'"

SaranWrap __ Good old 'plastic wrap' keeps my food fresh.

Ski Doo __ Bombardier Recreational Products brand of snowmobiles.

Slinky __ Also had one of the coolest jingles of all times. It's Slinky, it's Slinky. For fun it's a wonderful toy. It's Slinky, its slinky. It's fun for a girl or a boy.

Spandex __ You have to love the stretch of the polyurethane-polyurea copolymer synthetic fiber.

Speedo __ It may be small and tight, but did Bob really get a ticket for wearing a bathing suit that was a Speedo brand?

Styrofoam __ Dow brand of extruded polystryene foam.

Swiss Army Knife__ MacGyver was that much cooler because he had a Swiss Army Knife and not just a multi-function pocket knife.

Taser __ Electro-shock weapon

__ The generic term for the trademarked Trampoline was a "rebound tumble" but only recently did the brand lose its TM designation.

Vaseline __ Unilever brand of "petroleum jelly".

Velcro __ Brand name of a fabric hoop and loop fastener. An ingredient brand is Nylon.

Xerox __ The classic example of a generic brand.

__ A Greek vase from 500BC shows a boy playing with a string-based retractable double disc toy. But in 1928 the toy was marketed as YoYo.

Zamboni __ The inventor's name "Frank Zamboni" suits the ""ice resurfacing machine" so perfectly.

ZIP code __ An expired trademark of the US Postal service. Who knew?


  1. hahahaha. I googled (note no capitals) the quote on Astroturf. VERY FUNNY!!!

  2. Another one- Teflon. Fun blog Bob.

  3. your former student JoNovember 22, 2009 at 3:20 PM

    Tupperware and Scotch Tape- 2 more

  4. I remember the Astroturf quote... Bill could (and just about did) get away with anything.