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Brand genericide

Harris Interactive recently released a list of products ranked by brand equity, a measure of the brand’s popularity with US consumers. Here’s the top 10:

1. Reynolds Wrap Aluminum Foil
2. Ziploc Food Bags
3. Hershey’s Milk Chocolate Candy Bars
4. Kleenex Facial Tissues
5. Clorox Bleach
6. WD-40 Spray Lubricant
7. Heinz Ketchup
8. Ziploc Containers
9. Windex Glass Cleaner
10. Campbell’s Soups

Marketing can be a double-edged sword. The companies who manufacture these products have done a fantastic job in marketing these products, so fantastic in some cases that the brand name is in danger of becoming a genericized trademark. From the list above, I routinely use Ziploc, Kleenex, WD-40, and Windex to refer to the generic versions of those products, even though we sometimes use Glad products instead of Ziploc, Puffs instead of Kleenex, or another glass cleaner instead of Windex. If the companies on this list aren’t careful, they could lose the trademarked products that they’ve worked so hard to market so successfully.

Here’s a list of American proprietary eponyms, or brand names that have fallen into general use. Some of the names on the list are so old or in such common use (escalator, popsicle) that I didn’t even know they had been brands. Two current brands I can think of that might be in danger of genericide: iPod and Google. (via rw)