Peter: I hope we pass a McDaniels or a Burger Queen. Quagmire: Oh, that's right, we're on television... Joe: I could really go for a flame-broiled Bopper! Quagmire: This is so frustrating. We all KNOW what we're talking about...
WcDonald's or a variant thereof often appears in anime productions (and a few western shows and games), with the McDonald's golden arches flipped vertically.
In real life, a former Long Island hamburger chain called Wetson's. Their logo was a w that basically was the McDonald's arches upside down. Ironically, several Wetson's, including the one in the picture, later became McDonald's after Wetson's went out of business.
MAD may have had the earliest instance of the trope in their parody originally published in the 70's The Six Million Dollars, Man! when Col. Steel Awesome is held captive by Russian agents, and WcDonald's is presented as a Russian version of The Golden Arches.
At one point in Aku no Hana Kasuga goes to "Mocbnalds".
One UK advert for Argos shows their mascot blue alien characters ordering online from Amazin-stuff.com. It's not advertising online ordering, but why you should "Argos" it instead of ordering it online. Which is just ordering something from Argos, really.
Anime & Manga
A general note: It's as easy for a Japanese artist or animator to just change one letter of the Roman alphabet and get away with it as it would be for a Western artist or animator to switch out a single kanji.
Products from "Somy" (and their "Pandycam"), "Mikon" and other similar "manufacturers" can be found in many anime.
Seiyu, Walmart's Japanese branch, shows up in several anime and manga, such as Hey Yu in Shakugan no Shana, Heiya in Kodomo no Jikan or Seiyo in Kemeko Deluxe!.
Ah! My Goddess, has "Somy" and many others, including "Poca-Cola", on which Belldandy gets wasted, "Dack Daniels" whiskey and "God Year" tires.
Ai Kora has one chapter which features Nanako Sideway, a shopping plaza based on the real-life shopping plaza (and otaku haven) Nanako Broadway.
In Ai Yori Aoshi Miyabi's car is a BMW Z3, only the BMW logo is red instead of blue. They also get out a "Twinsters" party game in one episode. They also have "Starfocks Coffee" restaurants.
In Asobi Ni Ikuyo there are Somy, OIAV, and PanaX (Possibly a spoof of Panasonic and Pentax).
The OVA has "Nahapoly" (Monopoly), "Umo" (Uno), "Tracker" (Twister), and boxes showing games that resemble Life and Perfection.
Azumanga Daioh has "abidas" (adidas) and "Rocky" (Pocky), and Chiyo and Osaka end up working at Magnetron Burger, whose logo is a dead McDonalds giveaway. (Amusingly, McDonald's is actually mentioned in an early strip about Osakan regional differences. Apparently Azuma didn't decide to play it safe until later.)
In a strange twist of real life imitating art, Pocky is indeed sold as "Rocky" in some South-East Asian countries, although the original "Pocky" is available at import stores.
In the opening to Baccano!, it's possible to see chocolate bars by "Herseey's" and "Nostle".
Black Lagoon has multiple, the most noticeable of which would be the "Heireken" (Heineken) beer the protagonists all drink.
Yet there's no issue with them referring to Bacardi, nor is the GTO tag hidden on Benny's car in some shots. Heck, Revy's guns are Beretta 92F customs, which are prominently displayed in the opening sequence and mentioned at least once.
In Bakuman。 manga it's averted, where the mangaka main characters hope to get their work published in Shueisha's Shonen Jump magazine, and submit works for Akamaru Jump. Played straight in the anime, when it's Yueisha, Shonen Jack and NEXT, respectively. The titles of the manga the characters mention aren't changed, however.
Played straight with other brands in the Manga, too. Moritaka and Akito are meeting in front of a Rowson convenience store. Gets partially Lost in Translation in the dialog, as the Japanese spelling of Lawson and Rowson is the same (ローソン).
BECK anime has many examples of "rock bland" names. Including NC5 (MC5), Pixis (The Pixies), Ramonne (Ramones), etc.
Bleach shows a "Handin Donuts" sign at one point when Tatsuki is searching for Orihime, instead of "Dunkin' Donuts" of course.
Boku wa Tomodachi ga Sukunai has Largehard consoles (Microsoft) and PSP's: Playing State Portables as rival games systems. Also Megasonic airconditioning.
Chaos;Head...where to begin? Deluoode, Taboo!, Animeight, @Channel, MewTube, McDynald's...The Other Wiki becomes "We-Key Pedophilia". Surprisingly, Coca-Cola remains unchanged.
An episode of Chibi Maruko-chan has the titular character take a flight on an airline named Pan Up with the logo of (now defunct) airline Pan Am.
In CLANNAD, The early drama club room has a cardboard box for a Somy PC laying around.
Cowboy Bebop featured "Pippu" cola, whose color scheme was exactly the same as that of Pepsi.
Also, in "Heavy Metal Queen", V.T. is seen drinking "Boofeaters" Extra Dry Gin, with the rest of the label unchanged.
In one of the extras in the Da Capo TV Series, Miharu has a desktop PC whose OS is "Windoors 2000", and she surfs a website called "Ahoo!" (Japanese site, hence its url ends in ahoo.co.jp) where she does online auctions.
The original also had "McDonness Burger" and "Lufanser" airplanes. Which makes the Pizza Hut billboards all over the place seem even stranger.note Many, many Code Geass jokes were made. The dub, however, replaced all the Pizza Hut logos with "Pizza Slice", creating another example of this trope.
DearS episode 12 has a "Zutar Bacchus" coffee shop chain.
Death Note has "Gentle!" instead of Google and Yahoo (it must be for refined internet users), Eighteen instead of Seventeen magazine, "Fanto" instead of Fanta, and "Fanasonic" and "Metsubishi" instead of Panasonic and Mitsubishi giant TV sets.
And, amusingly: "Mild Turkey".
The manga has "Panasonio" videotapes.
Also To-oh University, instead of Tokyo. This is despite the story still taking place mostly in Tokyo.
TV-wise, it manages to have both NKK and NHN as blanded versions of NHK.
There's also a "CAZIO" mini-TV in the "potato chip" scene.
in Detective Conan, Pocari Sweat became "Hocari Sweat", Sony became "ONY" and Denny's became "Donny's"
The anime has Ran and Sonoko going to see a film called "Ossan's Eleven".
Digimon Tamers has one episode with a mom telling her daughter that "Bernard the Dinosaur" is on.
Digimon Adventure did this a lot. In one episode, you can see a vending machine that sells "Koca Kola".
The follow-up, Digimon Adventure 02, had a "Wac" computer in one episode. Izzy in Adventure was also fond of his laptop emblazoned with a pineapple logo.
The first and second movies feature signs labled "Factory Mark". This is a reference to Japanese supermarket chain, Family Mart.
Durarara!! is full of Bland-Name Product for various advertisements, billboards, and products seen around Tokyo, usually misspellings of real brands. In episode 11, when Shizuo is talking about the meaning of life (or something), in the background there's a sign with a man on it who looks suspiciously like Colonel Sanders. Durarara also has Yohoo!, Amezon, Yo!Tube, etc. Mikado buys a computer with "Mindows" on the package and during startup it boots up "Wbunte".
Dotachin shares a drink of Red Snake energy drink with Mikado at one point.
The second episode has a billboard for "Yahaha" motorcycles.
Eureka Seven does this (a lot) with, among others, "Rersi Cola" (which also sounds like "RC Cola", for a double whammy) and "Smickers" bars.
Dramacon OEL manga has this in spades. "Mcburger Queen," "Mangapop," "Daylodge" and "Taco Hut" appear prominently, as well as references to fake anime such as "Sailing Moon".
Excel♥Saga has Nabeshin driving a "Mitsubibi Lancer." They also watch news reports on an SQNY television. The "Next episode" buffers take place in front of a giant "20th Century FQX" logo.
The backgrounds of lots of episodes have these. Picari Sweat (Pocari Sweat), Loazon (Lawson), and "33 Ice Cream" (Baskin Robbins is more commonly known in Japan as "31 Ice Cream") are just a few examples.
The original series had Bocari Sweat (Pocari Sweat) and Heibeken (Heineken) beer. Oddly, the Product Placement of Budweiser remains intact
In Fushigi Yuugi, Miaka gives some "Creen Gum" to Tamahome (while keeping the "Lotte" part intact) and later in a flashback shows her using a "Pontax" digicam.
Future GPX Cyber Formula series have some actual brand names put into ads, but there are some of them like these such as "Comel" (Camel cigarettes) and "Umited Celors of Pemetton" (Benetton clothing). And there was a racing team based on the clothing company in the 90's, which happened around the time series was made.
A later arc has the gang playing the MMORPG Monkey Hunter in an attempt to locate some aliens who turned them into screwdrivers.
The diner that the Yorozuya trio and others frequently meet at is called Tenny's.
Go Shogun: Yatta-la Kernagul wants to open a chain of fried chicken restaurants called "Kernagul's Fried Chicken" and a hamburger chain called "KerDonald's".
Happy Lesson had "Windiis XXXP", and "Crocrosoft Mord", as well as the usual "Pony" televisions.
in the Haruhi Suzumiya anime, "Espon" laptops appear and the characters regularly eat at 'WcDonald's'.
The latter seems somewhat odd since during one outdoor scene, the background shows what is unmistakably a Sunkus convenience store...
This might be subtly lampshaded in "The Misadventures of Mikuru Asahina", which at the end says essentially: "This product is a work of fiction. Oh, except the store endorsements! Those are real. Please shop there."
Nori's computer has a Shaftsoft Wonders operating system. (The logo is four colored squares, straight, not wavy, and rotated 45 degrees with the upper right squares shifted to the upper left. The green and blue squares are swapped, and there's a lighter green square where the yellow would be.)
THE iDOLM@STER - Miki's headphones are a Somy, Chihaya lives near a BurgerQueen, the camera Yoshizawa uses is a Qanon, among others.
Ikkitousen has one character shown sending a text message on a "Sany Ericssan" cell phone.
Initial D, in he first season, the word "Trueno" (in the front of the hero's car) is spelled as "Toreno". This eventually changed when Toyota allowed them to use the AE86 Sprinter Trueno's proper name.
Maybe Toyota wanted Manga/Initial D to stop advertising Ford Torinos?
The dialogue also usually referred to the car as the "hachi-roku" ("eight-six"), a popular nickname for the AE86, and the name "Trueno" was seldom (if ever) used.
Possibly because the name was used on several generations of later models, which were FWD and therefore of little interest to drifters?
Kamen no Maid Guy features at least one episode with a "Meido" laptop, with a logo patterned after Sony's Vaio.
Keroro Gunsou has featured in its manga Mahoo! (instead of Yahoo!), Keuters (instead of Reuters), KerockTime (instead of QuickTime, probably because the software is from their homeworld) and Nendo CS (instead of Nintendo DS). The Kerons also use barely disguised Apple computers. There's also a minor character named Dasonu Maso (ダソヌマソ) whose name is deliberately similar to the katakana for Dance Man (ダンスマン), the stage name of the guy who composed the ending theme for the first season of the anime.
In King of Thorn features two computer-related ones: at one point we see a 'Mindows' (Windows) operating system, and the computer that Zeus conjures up is a 'Bell' (Dell).
Commonly done in the manga of Kochikame even when it's only shown in one panel which are usually store chains or food products. Sometimes, actual real brand names are used, usually the expensive European cars.
Kodomo no Jikan has a bag of "Buffles" potato chips, complete with the original's slogan in modified form: "Buffles Have Ridges". Mimi can at one point be seen holding two cups of "Starbocks" coffee.
In Kyo Koi O Hajimemasu, Tsubaki can be seen sitting in front of "Bear Bucks Coffee" at the beginning of chapter 37.
In Ladies Versus Butlers! it's done hilariously for a military organization: during the school festival, the festivities are kicked off by an airshow featuring F/A-22s sporting a livery similar to that of the USAF Thunderbirds, along with the phrase "I AM CHICKEN" written on the fuselage and wings, plus the letters "CSAF" on the wings as well.
Episode 10 of Okaeri prominently features Bringles in several shots, complete with an altered mascot.
Mobile Suit Gundam Wing has an episode which briefly features a circuit board labeled "Intel Outside". In a thermonuclear warhead. This was in the episode where Heero had to disarm a sabotaged missile silo (he does so by simply pulling a few wires).
In Nabari No Ou Yukimi uses software like Odobe Photograph, Mouton AntiVirus 2015, Saikrosoft Sentence/EXL/Autolock/Postman, and Ninja Seiden (a pun on Ninja Gaiden).
A "Nihon" camera appears in the first episode of Negima!? in place of the Nikon brand.
Makie enjoys a cold Mr. Paper in the White Wing OVA.
In the manga,characters could be found drinking coffee at "Starbooks".
As well as one character wearing a "Sax Pascals Anarchy" hat in chapter 27.
An aversion can be found in the manga here, as Vaio is a real computer, made by Sony. Although it looks like a netbook, rather than a full-size laptop as the Vaio line is (aside from the W series, released July 2009).
Nihon also supplies cameras for Azumanga Daioh, in the anime. There's also a Fuji-like sign (when Sakaki buys her Nihon camera), but no text is visible. In addition, the characters occasionally get food from WgDonald's.
Ranma ½ has one episode with Genma using a "Seny Gandycam" to record Ranma and Akane's Almost Kiss. In another, Ranma and Akane buy burgers from what is clearly a Bland Name Product version of McDonald's... possibly the ancestor to "WcDonald's" in InuYasha.
In the Japanese version of Rockman.EXE, Yaito's father is the president of Gabcom (ガブコン), a pun on Capcom (カプコン). Since Capcom made the Rockman.EXE series, this was probably meant to be a parody of the trope.
The Sky Crawlers features such products as Pops-Cola and Treasure soft drinks (with logos that resemble Coca-Cola and Pepsi respectively), Green Label beer and Leopard cars.
Slam Dunk the manga is filled with sports brand names everywhere, but the anime had to work around it, usually just not drawing the brand name. However, there was at least one instance in which a brand name was simply modified into "adadis" instead.
in Genshiken, Interestingly, all of the games the boys/girls play aren't product-changed, but the SYSTEM they play them on is. There's a wonderful image of a popular PS2 game sitting next to what is clearly a PS2 controller with the brand name "SANY" on it.
And there was an "MG" model kit which turned out to be a Humongous Mecha, not a British sports car.
MG is an abbreviation of "Master Grade", the detail level of Gundam model kits by Bandai. There a three of them: High Grade, which are cheapest and simplest, Master Grade, which are much, much more complex, and Perfect Grade — the large-scale monstrosities costing hundreds of dollars, standing two feet tall, and taking months to build, paint, and pose.
The TV in the Genshiken room is a "Pehasohic" (Replace the h's with n's and it becomes obvious what they are getting at).
Welcome to the NHK also has "Mindows" OS, a "Pujitsu" computer and a "Lurex" (or something like that) wristwatch, "Warboro"-brand cigarettes, and probably other such brands.
Yeah, several beer brands, Starbucks, some MMORPG, and many, many other things get Bland Named.
In 20th Century Boys, it's Conspicuously absent with everything shown or named on this page, for instance, is real. (The extra level of real-world grounding makes it especially strange that nobody comments on the character names that are blatant shout outs to classic sci-fi manga.)
Although a "Suny" brand music player does appear at least once.
Wandering Son both averts this and plays this straight at random. Sometimes you'll see actual brand names and at other times you'll see Bland-Name Product's. In the anime you can see "Starducks" at point point instead of "Starbucks", though in the manga they mentioned Starbucks by name.
Meanwhile, back in the regular Marvel Universe, the name "Mc Burger's" is used whenever someone needs to refer to a burger chain, and there is a frequently villainous oil company by the name of "Roxxon Oil".
Matt Murdock's well-stocked tea cupboardnote in issue 5 of the comic's third run contains boxes of Pwinings Ceylon Orange Peyol. Basically, the entire cupboard seems to be the result of combining a tea aficionado's sensibilities, a meticulous artist, and the enforced avoidance of direct brand references.
In the comic book adaptation of the 2007 Transformers live action movie, Sam Witwicky tries to sell his grandfather's glasses via "ePay".
This continued in the later Alliance miniseries, which briefly featured two of the All Spark-animated robots from the movie; Dispensor, the Mountain Dew vending machine, was shown shooting cans of "Mountain IDW" (a Shout-Out to the comic's publisher), while the Xbox 360 robot was re-labeled a "Y-Box".
Depending on the writer/artist/era, a lot of DC Comics, especially those aimed at teenagers (ie, the "sidekick" books like Robin and Teen Titans) will have a number of these. Examples include "Sundollars" coffee, "Crocky the Dinosaur," Zesti Cola and its competitor, Soder Cola, the Heavy Stone Cafe, and, of course, "WcDonald's".
Notably, The Martian Manhunter has a crippling addiction to "Chocos" cookies, which used to be a crippling Oreo addiction. He didn't change preferences, the writers just retconned this trope in.
Zesti, Sundollars, Heavy Stone, and Crocky were all created by Chuck Dixon on the Bat-books. He also came up with Curtains '98 software, Winkyworld amusement park, and O'Shaunasseghy's burger bar (a Shout-Out to a Denny O'Neil pseudonym).
Additionally, there are several brand names that change existing syllables to "Lex", such as Lex-Mart and Fed-Lex, implying that the names were changed when Lex Luthor bought the companies.
Archie In a story where Jughead eats at every restaurant in a 50-mile radius, Riverdale has a "Windy's" (Wendy's-The mascot character's just Frecklebitch with buck teeth.) And a "McDougals" (McDonalds).
A well known fast food chain in the Archie universe is "Colonel Dandy's". Colonel Dandy is clearly a Colonel Saunders Expy.
Alison Bechdel's Dykes To Watch Out For has "Papaya Republic," "Buns 'n Noodle" (Barns and Noble), "Medusa.com" (Amazon.com), "Panthouse," "Mothra Stewart" magazine, "Stairmistress" and more.
In Scott Pilgrim, Ramona Flowers' phone is made by a brand called Samsnug.
The Drunken Bakers in Viz do most of their shopping at a supermarket called Adld. Not only does this combine the names of cheap supermarkets Aldi and Lidl, it also neatly sums up what the Bakers buy there.
In Chris Ware's Floyd Farland: Citizen of the Future, we see a McRonald's (slogan: "3 Billion Poisoned"). In this case, we can really see why they altered the name for legal reasons.
Coming to America lampshades it, as the owner of the fast-food restaurant McDowell's gripes about McDonald's trying to sue him over (what he feels are) trivial similarities.
Cleo McDowell: Look... me and the McDonalds people got this little misunderstanding. See, they're McDonald's... I'm McDowell's. They got the Golden Arches, mine is the Golden Arcs. They got the Big Mac, I got the Big Mick. We both got two all-beef patties, special sauce, lettuce, cheese, pickles and onions, but their buns have sesame seeds. My buns have no seeds.
Ironically the movie was shot in a converted Wendy's.
Later, it is shown that Cleo has a McDonalds operations manual in his possession, which he quickly puts away.
In Idiocracy, Brawndo is largely a stand-in for Gatorade. The main character, who's from the present day, even mentions that it "tastes just like Gatorade". In a bizarre twist, Brawndo became a drink in Real Life - and is a citrus-flavored energy drink, like Monster and Amp, rather than a sports drink like Gatorade.
Legend has it they wanted to use Gatorade, but Gatorade refused. Several other real companies agreed to allow their names to be used, even though they were used in a disrespectful way (Fuddruckers, Costco, Starbucks, Carl's Jr.).
In the Evil Dead films, Ash works at the local S-Mart, an obvious stand-in for K-Mart. The store's snappy catchphrase "Shop Smart! Shop S-Mart!" kind of makes you wonder why K-Mart wasn't called that originally.
Because K-Mart was opened as the discount store variety of the S.S. Kresge's variety store chain. And now you know.
The energy drink "Minotaur" in Role Models is clearly intended as a stand-in for Red Bull.
In the Wayne's World films, ubiquitous Canadian restaurant Tim Horton's Donuts becomes the film's fictional Stan Mikita's Donuts. Horton and Mikita are both Hockey Hall-of-famers. Actor-writer Mike Myers grew up in Scarborough ("Scarberia"), a suburb of Toronto, where Horton played; character Wayne Campbell lived in Aurora, outside Chicago, where Mikita played his entire NHL career.
When General Boutwell sets up a chain of fried chicken restaurants, he calls it GFC, General's Fried Chicken (AKA KFC/Kentucky Fried Chicken).
Penelope Snow and Antoine Jackson go shopping at Khaki Republic, which was based on Banana Republic.
The Toy Story series films has Gyoza (Japanese for "dumpling"), a parody of Toyota. The only known car made by that company that was ever seen in those films appears to be a yellow pickup truck used by the Pizza Planet restaurant whose logo (written on its tailgate) appears to have been scratched out, leaving behind the letters "Y" and "O."
Lightning McQueen from Cars appears to be wearing Lightyear Buzzard tires, an obvious parody of Goodyear Eagle tires. It also appears to be a reference to Buzz Lightyear from Toy Story. And there's Al Oft, the Lightyear blimp.
Airplane! does this with a flashback involving Supperware, an ersatz of Tupperware.
Also the name of the airline, Trans America Airlines, is a stand-in for Trans World Airlines.
Hoodwinked!: in her "The Real G" montage, there's a shot of Granny Puckett skydiving while drinking a can of "Forest Dew" Soda (a stealth pun on Mountain Dew, given that this takes place in a mountain setting).
On Babel 13 in Star Wreck: In the Pirkinning, there are advertising posters for "Baaburger" (Hesburger, featured itself at the beginning of Pirk's flashback) and "Baabsolut Vodka" (Absolut Vodka). Justified by Babel 13 being located in a parallel universe.
In many movies, Time magazine has appeared as "Tempo" (e.g., Death Wish).
Film/Fireproof has a Honeycomb cereal box altered to read "Coney-Bomb."
In About the B'nai Bagels, protagonist Mark keeps a copy of Playboy-like magazine under his mattress called Playgirl. Another boy's mother actually gets him a subscription. Later editions changed it to Playboy. (The book and Playgirl magazine were first published the same year, 1973. E.L. Konigsberg had no way of knowing that a real magazine of that name would exist.)
Pre-1973, "Playgirl" is an obvious veiled reference to a well-known girlie magazine and hiding one under your bed says something about you. Post-1973, "Playgirl" is an obvious reference to the actual magazine of that name, and hiding one under your bed says something considerably different about you. (For those who somehow managed not to know: Playgirl features naked men, as opposed to Playboy's naked women.)
Neal Stephenson's Cryptonomicon features the heroes using a UNIX-like operating system developed in Finland, called... "Finux". Supposedly, this is because Neal knew a lot about the inner workings of Linux, but wanted to have a little bit more freedom on what was possible. This book also features the Electric Till Company (ETC) instead of NCR (National Cash Register).
Also the popular Confederate comic book "Hyperman." In both cases, characters occasionally think about the "Damnyankee drink/hero with a similar name."
Lampshaded to an extent in 2001: A Space Odyssey and its many sequels. HAL's designer patently denies any relation between the computer and IBM - whose initials are all one letter after H-A-L.
Word of God states that had he realized the connection, he would have changed HAL's name, as IBM helped them make the film.
Whereas other product placement is depicted quite normally, although many of the then-contemporary companies had ceased to exist by 2001. There still isn't a "BBC 13", though.
Good Omens gave us the "Burger Lord" chain. Elvis works at one.
Scott Westerfeld's novel So Yesterday not only censors out brandnames with asterisks but, as the entire plot deals with consumer culture, lampshades it by having characters refer to a certain brand as "the client" and the narrator explaining exactly why.
The Dilbert Principle tells advertisers to take advantage of their customers' stupidity to confuse competitor's products with their own "eerily similar but much worse" products. The suggested product names include "Honduh Accord," "Porch 911," and "Popsi Cola."
Zombies For Zombies has dozens, such as PutriSystem.
Christopher Brookmyre's Intrepid Reporter Jack Parlabane works for the Scottish broadsheet The Saltire, and its sister paper Saltire on Sunday, which are clearly The Scotsman and Scotland on Sunday.
Dracula has the Dailygraph newspaper (Daily Telegraph) and Kingstead Cemetary (Highgate Cemetary, near Hampstead).
Isabel Allende's City of the Beasts and The Kingdom of the Golden Dragon center around trips a teenage boy takes with his aunt, an intrepid correspondent for the noted magazine... International Geographic.
The Ultra Violets is full of these, such as Smashface, the premiere social networking site, Furi, Cheri's helpful voiced assistant, built into her phone, and Iris's tablet, the iCan.
In the graphic novel of The Red Pyramid, Khufu eats "HappyOs," which was probably done because they actually show the box, whereas the original book merely mentions "Cheerios." The box, though, looks almost exactly like a regular box of Cheerios, right down to the stylized "G" that is the General Mills logo.
In Hannah Montana, there's Standford University with an added D. May possibly be in a different location then Stanford given how Miley is able to drive back and forth a few times from Malibu in about a day when it usually would take between 6-7 hours one way. This could just be a case of Artistic License. It wouldn't be the first time
Blood Over Water has the villains work for Sleet Mountain. While there is a real Sleet Mountain Service Center in Newfoundland, the one in the story is a blatant stand-in for Ice Mountain. Even in the novelization, it's located "somewhere near Big Rapids." The nearby town of Stanwood hosts a real-life Ice Mountain bottling plant.
A number of episodes of Friends feature "Love That Crunch" cereal, which is otherwise completely the same as "Cap'n Crunch", including the character on the front.
An episode of Too Close for Comfort has Cartoonist Henry Rush in Hollywood to turn his comic strip character Cosmic Cow into a Network Cartoon Show. The pitch meeting takes place in a room with a giant window that shows a panoramic view of the city, including a billboard for 'J&C' Scotch Whiskey.
Played with on an episode of Sabrina the Teenage Witch, where witches trying to magically create brand goods automatically create a Bland-Name Product equivalent with an obviously similar name, such as "N&N's" instead of "M&M's" and Butterthumbs instead of Butterfingers. They couldn't even have Rollerblade inline skates, instead, they got Roller Blahds. According to Hilda, this was the result of the Witches' Council intervention after the market was flooded by magically created Gucci knockoffs.
Used to an extreme in every single Nickelodeon show produced by Schneider's Bakery Productions. This includes All That and The Amanda Show (mostly lampshaded) and also Drake & Josh and Zoey 101. Extremely narmful in iCarly, where their webshow is called 'iCarly', but they still listen to 'pearpods', talk on their 'pearphones', lug around oversized 'pearpads', and all the computers have a pear logo on them. It's the same with sister show Victorious. Drake & Josh had a Game Sphere (parody of Nintendo's Gamecube).
The JAG and NCIS team, regularly view reports from the ZNN news channel.
NCIS does this with several different brands. GSM for FHM, Cybervid for Youtube and Pagebook for Myspace/Facebook, depending on what the plot demands. Possibly the strangest example is the 'Bearey Smiles' talking teddy bear ment to be a stand-in for the Tickle Me Elmo craze of the nineties. It's... underwhelming.
In ER, news programs were from the Chicago NBC affiliate, using actual 10 PM anchors (generally Warner Saunders).
Cue Spooks, a BBC show, courting some controversy when SkyNews popped up in an episode.
In the university canteen on The Big Bang Theory soft drinks such as Dr Pepper and Diet Cola are sold in cans identical to the real life brands. Sheldon's non-existant cousin (who was made up to fool Penny) had apparently escaped rehab and was staying at a Motel 8.
After being disappointed by the taste of orange juice and amount of crispiness of a toasted english muffin in one episode of The Big Bang Theory, Sheldon addresses a tub of margarine.
Sheldon: I have no trouble believing you're not butter.
The re-imagined Battlestar Galactica had a Spaceline called Pan Galactic which used an identical symbol to Pan Am, examples of which can be seen here◊ and here◊.
This was apparently a Shout-Out to 2001: A Space Odyssey rather than a get around for copyright. Which would make slightly more sense In-Universe since the series is set over a 150,000 years prior to Pan Am ever existing.
It kinda also sounds like a shout out to Hitchhiker's Guide's Pan Galactic Gargle Blaster.
Or, alternatively, it's a straightforward name coming from essentially the same logic that "Pan Am" did as distinct from a deliberate Shout-Out to anything: The Greek root pan means "all" (thus pantheon and pandemic).
Chuck features a smoothie place called "Orange Orange". Their logo is written in a font identical to that of Orange Julius's logo. They also have Buy More, a poorly-disguised version of Best Buy. Instead of a Geek Squad, they have a Nerd Herd.
In the "Everybody Hates Halloween" episode of Everybody Hates Chris, Julius buys Gravy Ways (Milky Ways), M&N's (M&M's), and Butterthumbs (Butterfingers) as a way of saving money on Halloween candy.
The family also uses Tussin (Robitussin cough syrup) as a cure-all for every type of ailment.
Tonya: Mom! Chris got hit by a bus!
Rochelle is seen grabbing her purse and an economy-size bottle of Tussin as she runs out the door.
Tussin is actually an "off brand" name. Cheaper version of the Brand name but perhaps not quite as effective. Sold in Walmart stores, for example.
In one episode of Castle, the title character's mother is making a "MyFace" account.
Castle: MyFace? Don't you mean—
Alexis: Don't bother, I've been trying to correct her all day.
In another episode, the team is tracking a money order from a bank called "Machovia."
"Tito's" brand potato chips show up on numerous occasions. The bag looks very similar to a Frito-Lay Ruffles bag.
Happy Cat in Season 8, obviously intended to be Hello Kitty.
Degrassi tends to come up with Bland Name Products for anything media-related, and avert it otherwise unless something is an independent small business in-universe. They seem to use a lot of Canada-only brands so the aversions aren't immediately apparent to viewers in the US and elsewhere.
They also use fictionalized names for Canadian universities but real names of U.S. ones.
Season 7 of 24 involved a chemical weapons threat perpetrated by none other than "Starkwood," the U.S.-based private army— security contracting firm.
Leverage had an interesting twist to this in season 1: Instead of having fake products, they would have real products, but would never show their names or labels. For example, Hardison is clearly seen drinking orange Jones soda, but the front of the label was always against his palm or otherwise turned away from the camera.
In Little Britain, Judy and Maggie belong to the fictional "Women's Association" instead of the Women's Institute. In the initial broadcast of their sketches, they were from the Women's Institute, but it was hastily changed when the real organisation did not want to be associated with such vulgar characters.
In an early episode of Sliders the gang visited an alternate world where computers ran on the "Doors" operating system.
Community has Annie eating a bag of "Let's" potato chips, obviously in the style of Lay's potato chips. The Tag in the final episode of Season 3, "Introduction To Finality," has Leonard doing a YouTube review of Let's chips.
Surprisingly averted in other cases: for example, Subway were apparently happy to be portrayed as an Orwellian company of StepfordSmilers who trample on the interests of small businesses, bless 'em. The episode "Basic Rocket Science" also features use of KFC's name and corporate mascot (in a speaking, indeed threatening, role no less).
If anyone is drinking a can of beer it will be "Olde British 800", looking very much like the "Olde English 800" malt liquor.
The CBCHigh SchoolSitcomMr D is an interesting case; the school's name (XavierAcademy) and uniforms suggest it's a Catholic school, but that's never stated outright and there are no priests or nuns in sight.
In Hidarime Tantei EYE, characters can be seen using a search engine called "Bogel"
In the Supernatural episode "In My Time of Dying," Sam uses a "Mystical Talking Board" to communicate with Dean during his out-of-body experience.
In the Unforgettable episode "The Man in the Woods", the main characters visit a diner whose beer list includes Spam Adams and Limstel.
Averted and lampshaded at once in the Season 4 NCIS episode "Witch Hunt," in which a teenage witness reports the car used in a hit and run is a Kuruma. Gibbs takes it as misdirection since it's the Japanese word for "car", but McGee points out it's the stand-in name for a Chrysler Sebring in Grand Theft Auto III.
Lampshaded and played with in the later seasons of Til Death. Joey attempts to prove that everyone's living in a TV show and points to the numerous fake brands and trademark dodges as examples. Earlier, Eddie and Joy were shown replacing boxes of actual brand-name product with Bland Name Products because cash is tight and they can't afford actual brands anymore.
In the TV mini-series for Stephen King's The Stand, the beer two of Flagg's guards are drinking is labeled "Beer," although the cans are colored and the font used is a very near match to Coors.
On Bones, Hodgins and Zack once tested whether zooplankton could survive feeding on toxic human flesh using a chunk of poisoned meat in a tank with "Sea Chimps" (= "Sea Monkeys"). Averted with the meat, which was openly stated to be Spam.
It's easy to miss, but in Spaced places like the JobCentre aren't given their real-life branding. The real-life JobCentre decided (perhaps a touch humourlessly) that they didn't want to give the impression that any of their staff would give preferential treatment to anyone on the basis of how they felt about The Phantom Menace.
Sherlock has 'MePhone' as a stand in for 'iPhone'.
A Saturday Night Live sketch parodied a series of Taster's Choice instant coffee ads with an ad for "Tayster's Choice" spermicidal jelly.
Series/Elementary had a publication printed on pink paper called the "Investor's Post" in season 1, an apparent stand-in for the real life Financial Times.
Owl City's "Fireflies" video features a Type & Speak (not Speak & Spell) toy.
Cyndi Lauper's "She Bop" video takes place in a "Burger K" clone.
Foo Fighters' video for "Big Me" is a parody of Mentos commercials, replacing the product in question with Footos.
Not originally a video, but Ray Davies of the Kinks had to fly back from New York to re-record a single line of "Lola", changing "Coca-Cola" to "cherry cola" because the BBC wouldn't play the song with a commercial product name in it.
A curious example from Baby Blues: Hammie has a G.I. Joeexpy called Action Man. Action Man is the British name of GI Joe. Did the (American) writer know this and use it purposefully, or did he just make up Action Man as a generic toy name?
Bloom County had the Banana Jr. computer, an obvious parody of Apple computers. The computer even looked exactly like an Apple Macintosh (of the time), except for having stubby robot legs.
Dykes To Watch Out For does this constantly to parodic effect: "medusa.com," "Bounders Books & Muzak," "Bunns & Noodle," "Bed Bath & Bite Me," "Papaya Republic," etc. The best was a publishing house, "Furrier Sprout & Genoux."
FoxTrot is chock full of this, mainly on the magazines or newspapers the characters are reading. Names such as Arper Shimage, Waxmell House and Gique are frequent.
The Drabblestrip for January 24th 2014. Ralph went into a fast food place called Down-N-Out Burgers. Even though he didn't say anything, the counterman said "Coming right up!". Ralph says "You've heard of the secret menu? I just ordered off the super secret menu!". The Real Life hamburger chain In-N-Out actually has a "secret menu" of items and specialties that aren't on the regular displayed menu.
In Cabin Pressure, the airline that Douglas used to work for is called Air England rather than British Airways. Similarly, GERTI The Alleged Aeroplane is a Lockheed McDonnell 312, rather than a Lockheed Martin or a McDonnell Douglas plane.
"CarToon Wars" setting. The Twisted Ridge Mall had stores such as B. Dulltoon Books (B. Dalton Books), Spacy's Department Store (Macy's), Frederick's of Hollyweird (Frederick's of Hollywood), Z-Mart (K-Mart) and Toonited Artists (United Artists).
Classic Traveller Paranoia Press supplement Merchants and Merchandise. The LHeP9(Or) Series 12/136 computer system entry said that the manufacturer Delta Research sold programs for it through a subsidiary, Interworld Business Machines (AKA IBM, International Business Machines).
Finians Rainbow has the catalogue of Shears and Robust. Mr. Shears and Mr. Robust themselves make an appearance.
The Sera Myu has Banzai as a sponsor for show they're preforming in one of the musicals (specifically Eien Desestu's revised version) Bandai was a Sponser for the Sera Myu. In a bit of a subversion, they don't replace Bandai and are said to make Omochi (Rice Cakes) instead of Omocha (Toys)
Command & Conquer: Red Alert 2 had "McBurger Kong" restaurants. It featured a giant gorilla statue on the roof, and if you garrisoned the building, you'd get some monkeys to control. There is also McRoo] Burger and Massivesoft.
Disgaea 3 had Mao playing an unnamed but strangely familiar RPG on his Slaystation Portable.
Disgaea: Hour of Darkness had Captain Gordon asking for a Teriyaki Pizza from "Pizza Shack" to be waiting for him when he returns.
Fallout has Nuka-Cola! Two hundred years after a nuclear war they're still good! They also come in Nuka-Cola Quantum, which is enhanced with a mild radioactive strontium isotope, which gives it a kick and a pleasing blue glow.
Red Racer (Radio Flyer) tricycles.
Chryslus (after Chrysler) Corvega (portmanteau of Corvair and Vega, two of Chevrolet's worst cars) cars.
Adams Air Force Base in Broken Steel is based on Joint Base Andrews (formerly Andrews Air Force Base).
Cram is obviously a parody of Spam, right down to the packaging.
In Final Fantasy VII, Cloud is forced to hijack a motorcycle in order to escape from Shinra HQ. It's a Hardy Daytona.
Just about every car model in the Grand Theft Auto series is a Bland-Name Product version of an existing car. Examples include the Mundano (Ford Mondeo), Counthash (Lamborghini Countach in GTA 1), Beast/Banshee (Dodge Viper) (the Banshee was a Corvette in Vice City), Impaler (Chevrolet Impala), Bug (VW Beetle), Penetrator(Jensen-Healey Interceptor), Benson (Mercedes-Benz 300 SL), Aniston BD4(Aston Martin DB4), Phoenix (Pontiac Firebird), Fortune (1990s Ford Thunderbird), Cheetah (Ferrari Testarossa in III and later), Infernus (Lamborghini Diablo in GTA III, although San Andreas replaced it with a Honda NSX), Blista (Ford Windstar), and U-Jerk truck.
It's also important to point out that very few vehicles (at least in the later 3D sequels) are actually exact replications of the car. Although you can usually tell what it's supposed to be mimicing (especially iconic vehicles), it will never be completely accurate (not including the new name).
San Andreas and IV also had Sprunk soda, a obvious reference to Sprite.
Grand Theft Auto London 1969: Fat=Fiat, Squealey=Austin Healey, James Bomb=Aston Martin DB 5, Crapi=Ford Capri, Myni=Mini Cooper, Locust=Lotus, Reno=Renault, Harold=Triumph Herald, Raver=Rover, Jug Swinger=Austin Powers Jaguar E-Type, MC Hamper=MG Midget, S-Cart=Ford Escort.
Everything in the GTA 'verse is this. Perhaps most clever was "Eris" shoes for "Nike" in San Andreas, both being Greek goddesses.
"Cluckin' Bell", a pastiche of Taco Bell and KFC.
Tarbrush Coffee, parody of Starbucks.
Geta Life, eCola, Sprunk, Burger Shot, Well Stacked Pizza...
Headhunter sported several boxes bearing the amusing logo "Nosy," done in Sony's font.
In the much-loved 'A New Life' stage of Hitman: Blood Money, one of the best ways to get started is to slip a pair of drugged donuts to some FBI agents, so you can steal their uniforms. The fauxnuts are, of course, from 'Delicious Donuts', using the characteristic color scheme and font of Dunkin' Donuts.
Kingdom of Loathing has more of these than you can poke a stick, although it's more because the dev team love puns than for legal reasons. Cloaca Cola and Dyspepsi Cola, Tom's of the Spanish Main toothpaste, Hatorade sports drink, Red Minotaur energy drink, Domesticated Turkey bourbon, Eye-Pod mp3 players, Elmley sunglasses... the list of crimes against the english language is almost endless.
The Japanese version of Mario Kart 64 features sponsors such as Marioro (cleverest use of a cigarette brand ever), Luigip (after Italian motor oil company Agip - the logo is Luigi's nose-and-'stache instead of the six-legged lion) and Yoshi 1 (after German motor oils Mobil). The only one that carried over to the American version was Koopa Air (while the name does not denounce any brand, its boards had the same color scheme as those of Goodyear tires).
In the Japanese version of Metal Gear Solid, Snake mentions that his favorite brand is now "Moslems". This brand actually appeared before in Policenauts, where they were sold packaged in a Marlboro-style red box.
Most of the guns in the recent games are real, save the obvious fantasy weapons, but in the original Metal Gear, Snake's submachine gun was a Mac II Ingram. Squint at it. Yes. Not a Mac 11 Ingram, that would be a real gun.
In Marvel Ultimate Alliance, in Spider-Man's first conversation with Hank Pym, he mentions having had lunch at "Taco Hut".
Mushroom Men runneth over with various, amusingly-labeled products. If it exists in the game, chances are good it either has a humorous made-up name (like matchbooks from "Ned's Banjos & Feline Taxidermy") or a Bland Name. Some of them are quite subtle, too—very few people outside of artists would recognize what "Prissy Color" pencils are related to (Prismacolor art products, for the curious), for example.
The vending machines in Persona 3 all have Captain Ersatz brands of beverages, such as Cielo Mist, SoBay, Mad Bull, One-Up, and this editor's favorite, Fountain Dew.
Lampshaded or at least poked fun at by the punny item descriptions. SoBay, for example, is described as a drink that has uncanny popularity in Internet auctions.
And who could forget BauerBar, said to have enough energy packed to "keep you going for 24 hours straight".
Not to mention Cylon Tea, which comes in twelve flavors.
This trope goes all the way back to GameTek's MS-DOS and Commodore 64 adaptations of The Price Is Right, released in 1990.
Resident Evil 2 had plenty of these, such as a fast food wrapper from "Burger Kong," a "Taxago" gas station, and vending machines selling "Cho Cho Cola" in a red can, and "Cool Soda" in a blue can with a white recurved stripe; because the stripe is also a trademark of Coca-Cola, the former was replaced in later releases by a plain black can, the latter by a coffee machine. And there's a cigarette billboard that resembles the Marlboro brand, only green (looks like Capcom didn't know Marlboro sells a menthol...).
All of the games use real-life weapon models for the guns, but only in the first game do they actually go by their brand names (Beretta, Remington shotgun, the Colt Python magnum, and a MAC-10 automatic gun in the PC version). Later games either address guns with a generic title ("handgun", "magnum") or give them a different name altogether (In the R Emake, for example, the Colt Python became the Silver Serpent). Resident Evil 6 has a mixture of both (a 909 and the "Wing Shooter", for one)
San Francisco Rush series: Most of the cars are knockoffs of real ones, although a few are completely made up. Compact=Acura Integra R, Muscle Car=Corvette Sting Ray, Bruiser=Plymouth Hemi Cuda, Exotic & Super GT=Vector M12, Mobster=Chevy Fleetline, Sportster=Dodge Viper (RT-10 roof, but with GTS competition stripes), 4x4=Ford Explorer, Protoype=Ford GT90 concept car, Euro LX=BMW Z9, Venom=Lamborghini Diablo, Concept=BMW Nazca C2?, Panther=Mc Laren F1. The gas stations are also generic imitations of Shell, with the word "Fuel" and a smiley face in place of the shell logo.
Silent Hill is loaded with these all over the titular town, including a Queen Burger (later Happy Burger) restaurant (complete with the "bun halves" framing the logo), Vestal Gigastore (Virgin Megastore), cardboard boxes stamped with "Fedy-X," and an out-of-place bag of jellybeans bearing a logo almost identical to Jelly Belly's. Then there's Poston Market, Texxon gas, the (S)Hell station with the nautilus shell, the Circle 8 convenience store with the logo that looks a suspicious lot like that of 7-Eleven, and the AEC restaurant with the A&W motif.
Oh, and buried somewhere in there is a legitimate Jack Daniels logo painted on a cargo door.
Super James Pond (also known as [Super] James Pond II) has "Bony" stereo systems.
Postal 2 features a game called SymHomeless, and lampshaded by a local newspaper telling that "lawsuit narrowly averted by changing i to y".
Tokyo Xtreme Racer Zero lacks licensed cars, instead using replicas of them, each named "TYPE-_____." If you get up close to a car and look at its emblem, you'll notice that it looks almost like a real brand name, but altered slightly; for example, Isuzu-like trucks have the emblem spelling out "USUZU."
The remake of the first Trauma Center has Pochy. No points for getting the reference right.
A Vampyre Story has an energy drink called "Scarlet Bovine". This is a double bland-name, referring both to Red Bull energy drink and Crimson Cow, the game's publisher.
World Driver Championship: Ellipse Stallion=Ford Mustang Cobra R, Rage 512 EVO=Porsche 911 GT 1 EVO, Reeds R12 Manta=Chevy Corvette C5R, Elan Swift TT=Lotus Esprit GT1, Ram Venom GTR = Dodge Viper GTSR, EXR Mystic=TVR Speed 12.
Even some of the old Sega console games have these. I forgot what game it was but I believe i have seen "Marobare" (Marlboro) and "Bridalstone" (Bridgestone) ads on the roadside which looks like the real thing if you are not paying close attention.
Ridge Racer series: Devil=Lamborghini Diablo, Age Erisso=Fiat 500, Age Abeille=Renault 5 Turbo, Age Pegase=Lotus 7, Lizard Bayonet=Corvette, Assoluto Istante=Vector W8, Assoluto Gephardo=Porsche 952 LM, etc. The cars in R4 and later were mostly completely made up, although some had bits and pieces from real cars. The car on ther RR7 cover resembles a Saleen S7.
The Gamespot reviewer for Ridge Racer 6 once confused the "Klonoa" signs found in the game with the real-life "Nokia."
The arcade version of Ninja Gaiden has signs for "Caca" Cola and "Fefs"(Pepsi), and "Esso Gus" barrels.
A rather badly-done example in the Robot Wars game Arenas of Destruction (no, notthatRobot Wars). In the Robot Builder, some of the motors and batteries you can equip your machine with include "Dosch" and "Yuarta"...except in the preview images for these items, the names and logos of the real-world companies (Bosch and Yuasa) are shown on them instead. Oops.
In Modern Warfare 2 one of the levels takes place in and around Burger Town joint based on Burger King. There's also a Taco Togo with a rather familiar looking logo.
The first level of Modern Warfare 3 involves taking out a radio jammer on top of the "Manhattan Stock Exchange". The final level, similarly, involves invading the "Oasis Hotel" in an attempt to finally kill the Big Bad.
Call of Duty: Black Ops 2 averts this with the EOTech Sight; earlier games used sights from the same company under the generic "Holographic Sight" label. At the same time, though, the HAMR scope returning from Modern Warfare 3 is now simply the "Hybrid Optic".
Sam and Max Hit The Road features the roadside convenience store chain Snuckey's, based on the real world Stuckey's chain (oddly enough, Steve Purcell got away with a reference to the real-world Stuckey's in Sam and Max: On the Road).
The software store in Space Quest IV has games titled "Boom", "Sim Sim", "It Came For The Desert", etc.
Peter MacDonald in Metal Wolf Chaos ("Because, yes! The pen is still mightier than the sword!") is a reporter for the "DNN" news channel.
RE: Alistair has its MMORPG "Rivenwell Online". Stores in the mall include "Boundary's Books", "The Divide", and "Gamego". Boundary's sells a book called "Planetost" (the others are generic, like notebooks and encyclopedias), and Gamego sells "Movie Maniac", "Diamond Moon: Final Phase", "Other Saga", "Monochrome Diet", "Demon of Edo", "Walk This Way", and "Rock Festival".
Nanashi no Game's plot centers around a dual-screened handheld game system called the TS.
In the Gran Turismo series, due to lack of an FIA license, the Monaco GP course is renamed Cote d'Azur, and the F1 cars are generic replicas.
Subverted in Gran Turismo 5, which has two actual licensed Ferrari F1 cars in it (the F2007 which also appeared in GT5: Prologue, and the F2010). Also notable is the use of a number of RUF-branded cars in GT5 as stand-ins for Porsches (which Sony does not have a license for) although since RUF builds their actual cars on top of unmarked Porsche bodies this doesn't necessarily apply. Instead, the cars are described as being based on "vehicles from a German automaker."
Needfor Speed Shift 2 Unleashed also runs into a similar problem with Monaco. Because Codemasters (Formula 1 2010) holds the F1 license and all the related tracks, Slightly Mad Studios was forced to call the track "Riviera". They even tell players to guess which circuit the track is based off of on the website.
Some tracks in Forza Motorsport behave this way, too. For example, Sunset Peninsula Raceway is a venue on the Florida coastline that includes a trioval approximately 2.5 miles in length and infield road course, similar to Daytona International Speedway. (Forza is not immune, as several older NASCAR video games also lacked Daytona due to licensing issues)
Game Dev Story (and many of Kairosoft's simulation games, in fact) contain too many Bland Name Products to count.
The original Transport Tycoon used real names for trains/trucks/planes. In Transport Tycoon Deluxe, however, they changed these names to something that sounds similar (for example, "EuroStar -> AsiaStar).
Averted with Duke Nukem. Soon after the launch of the first game, the name was changed to "Duke Nukum" because of the character Duke Nukem from Captain Planet; however, since the name was not trademarked, they switched back to "Duke Nukem".
The car manufacturers in Split Second are pastiches of real companies. Ryback cars look like modern versions of classic American muscle cars suchas the Camaro, Mustang, and Dodge Challenger. Cobretti look like Italian speedsters and the name sounds like Ferrari or Lamborghini. Hanzo has cars that resemble the Impreza and Lancer, and the name sounds like Mazda or Honda.
The girls of Neptunia do their shopping on Amazoo.nep, and Compa mentions that she found the location of the tutorial dungeon through DungleMaps. The reboot, mk2, gives us the Chirper social networking site.
Poke646: The vending machines of the titular company are full of different sodas. Would you drink a bottle of Poke?
The PC game Inspector Gadget: Global Terror had a tofu restaurant called O'Ronald's (read: McDonald's) as a major plot point.
The Super Mario Bros. clone The Great Giana Sisters was named as such in order to avoid copyright suits from Nintendo. The tactic didn't work, as the game was much too similar to Mario, with entire levels copied over. The courts ordered The Great Giana Sisters off shelves. Later, the game achieved cult status, with a sequel made by the developers of the original Giana Sisters, released for PC and currently awaiting a console release, including, ironically, Nintendo's Wii U.
Another Bland Name Product clone of Mario is Secret Maryo Chronicles, an open-source Mario clone/game engine starring a childlike chibi instead of a portly plumber. Originally, the game was a straight Super Mario World clone, with sprites directly ripped from the original game. To avoid legal troubles, the developers later switched to a unique graphics style and a completely different protagonist. However, much of the Mario influence remains in Maryo down to the enemies, items, and even the music (which is entirely made up of fan remixes of Mario themes). Unlike The Great Giana Sisters, Secret Maryo Chronicles has recieved no acknowledgement from Nintendo, meaning that this game is, for now, safe from legal troubles.
All over the place in First Encounter Assault Recon, if you bother looking. Parodied with some vending machines in the second game for a drink called "Professor Doctor", calling it "the original" and asking that you "don't settle for imitators".
Gitaroo Man shows a "Burger Queen" restaurant in the background of the second level.
Ten Days With My Devil has "Prata" shoes, "Horshey's" chocolate, and "Crackle Jacks." Amusingly, in the prologue sequence Prada is mentioned by name - Haruhito claims to own the company - but it's referred to as "Prata" in all subsequent dialogue.
Shin Megami Tensei IV lets you loot the ruins of several familiarly named stores, such as Shanel, Luis Witon, or the laptop-focused Appolo store.
Mother 2, the Japanese version of EarthBound, had red "Come" trucks with a familiar-looking swirl logo. During localization, these became running stick figure logos.
In 1997, artist Andy Cox put up a series of posters at the San Francisco State University streetcar stop, lampooning Citibank's "In Your Dreams" billboard campaign. ("The posters featured such figures as Arnold Schwarzenegger and Che Guevara with the artist's slogans replacing the bank's ad copy. The Guevara piece, for example, states, 'In your dreams, everyone is treated equally.... And your bank sponsors socialist revolutions.'" —File Room.org.) Cox spelled it "Citybank" and made the logo an eight-pointed starburst (instead of the real four-pointed one). (Citibank still called the university president, threatening a lawsuit, and he ordered them taken down. They were moved to the university's Art Department Gallery.)
Pops up in the background of Punch an' Pie, most memorably the shopping bags from "Warm Mention" (Hot Topic).
In Tower of God, Yu Han-sung loves his instant coffee which is totally not a rip-off from Korea's most popular instant coffee brand.
The Order of the Stick does this with the trademarked wizard names from Dungeons & Dragons, attributing the "Bigby's" spells to either "Bixby" or "Bugsy" instead. Likewise, Mordenkainen's Disjunction is referred as simply Disjunction. A character who was a clear copy of a D&D property (with a name of the original character's scrambled up) was dragged awayby lawyers in mid-fight. He later returned under the loophole of "parody is protected speech".
We also see a social network for clerics called Macebook.
So far, The FAN has brought us the electronics brand "Sunny" and the "Yeskia" mobile phones (complete with a provider called "Lemon" that even becomes plot-relevant at one point). An early episode mentions an online messenger called "Yippy Courier".
This comic is rife with slight respellings of product names. Pip uses a online auction site called eBuy. The phone book is called the “Hello Pages.” It happens with movies and video games, too: the Wintendo Pee (as well as the handheld Wintendo BS), its rival gamemaker Saga; Arkham Lockdown, Contemporary Warfare, All Saints Boulevard, Skyroam, the oft-mentioned Temple Raider. Films like Far Trek, Nightlight, The Metrix (and its sequels, The Metrix: Rebooted and The Metrix: Rotations ).
Selkie has Selkie wondering if she can watch movies on Flixnet (an obvious take on Netflix) at home.
The Whiteboard: If you look closely at the background, you can see Doc carrying a Khil chainsaw, while more recently Jinx can be seen with his brand new Khil Jr. chainsaw. Clearly a pastiche of Stihl and Skill power tools.
El Goonish Shive featured a chase through a "Swedekea" store. "Salty Crackers Comics" counts too; there's a regional comics chain around Chicago called "Graham Crackers".
In Everyday Heroes, Mr. Mighty once held a civilian job "hauling concrete blocks at SuperHomeCenterMart". Several strips also show "Sundo's" coffee ("sun" = "star", "dough" = "money" = "bucks").
Dr. McNinja's first published foe was against the fast-food clown everybody is familiar with: Donald McBonald! (It actually wasRonald McDonald when first published; Chris Hastings later touched up the original chapters, so he could continue to use the character without fear of litigation.)
Pretty much every product in Sluggy Freelance is one of these. The PlayStayShun 3 console, the Years of Yarncraft MMORPG, the pirate-themed coffee shop Swashbucks, the list goes on.
Parasite Galaxy Does this with pretty much everything (Wc Donalds, Starducks, Microhard) , even the names of countries get changed.
This Master of the Obvious comic, with a young Stan Lee, has "Kentucky Fried Something" in the last panel, with the slogan "We Do Something Right".
Foamy the Squirrel of Illwillpress commonly uses brand substitutes: Snell Computer company, the Fatkins Diet, or StarSchmucks Coffee.
In the fourth episode of Blamimation, Kris and Scott travel to the digital world of Tro-er, Fron...where they ride lightcyc-er, glowbikes for a while until Scott merges with the Master Control Frogram.
And in Treehouse of Horror XXI (see the "Quotes" tab), the names of the board games that Bart and Milhouse look over are Taffyland, Drops and Risers, Consternation, Ravernous Ravernous Rhinos, Mouse Catch, Battleboat, Funopoly, Crate of Apes, Yahtzu, and Tiddlywonks. Plus a scene from a Clue-like game: "Colonel Ketchup, I say it was you that killed him in the parlor with the letter opener."
Homer orders these toppings for his ice cream cone: Snickels, Gooey Bears, Charlottesville Chew, Nice & Many, Kat Kit, Hershel's Smooches, Mrs. Badbar, and Milk Dudes.
"Million Dollar Maybe" features the Funtendo Zii, as well as the couch gag for "Lisa Goes Gaga".
Many of their stores are parodies of real-world stores, with a few name knock-offs: Sprawl-Mart, CostMo. Oddly their store Try-N-Save has a similar sign design as a Chicago business Buy-N-Save which may have been established a couple years later.
"Hungry Hungry Homer"
Bart: Ow! Why did I get this LEGO shirt? Marge: Don't you mean Blocko shirt? Bart: Right, right. Blocko shirt.
Parodied in the episode 'Lisa Simpson, This Isn't Your Life', the family travels and drives by McDonalds, Walmart and 7-11, with Bart saying "I've never heard of any of these places."
And again in "The Mook, the Chef, the Wife and Her Homer", where it's revealed that Krusty actually pays off the mob to keep McDonalds and Burger King out of Springfield.
A number of scenes in King of the Hill take place in Luly's Cafeteria. The restaurant and its logo are a blatant pastiche of Luby's, but odds are that viewers who haven't been to Texas have probably never heard of it.
They also have the Mega-Lo-Mart, which has driven out independent businesses, including Hank's favorite fishing supply store (but their batteries are sure a good deal).
Many of Nicktoons TV's earlier station IDs featured late-1990s and early-2000s Nickelodeon IDs with the "Nicktoons" name put in.
Kim Possible had many: Cuddle Buddies (Beanie Babies), Club Banana (Banana Republic), and Smarty Mart.
South Park goes as close as it can get to real brands, with names like "HBC" (NBC), "Harbucks Coffee", "Wall-Mart", and "J-Mart", as well as the "Okama Gamesphere", a pastiche of the Nintendo GameCube. Due to the occasional Product Placement deal, however, some episodes have featured stuff like the PSP or the Nintendo Wii...plus, you know, World of Warcraft.
The "Fantastic Easter Special" episode features a CONY television set.
And of course, Cheesy Poofs, originally intended to be Cheetos Puffs.
One episode of Jonny Quest: The Real Adventures had Race breaking into a building using a Nisa (Visa) credit card. And then there's CNNN. "As close as it can get" is right...
In Metalocalypse, Nathan Explosion has a dream about working at Dimmu Burger, both a parody of Burger King and a shout-out to real life metal band Dimmu Borgir.
Daria had a very funny example: Fuzzy Wuzzy Wee Bits (Beanie Babies).
The Weekenders has an amusing incident of this. The main characters wanted to go see a sci-fi movie about cosmic battles a long time ago, but were disappointed when they realized they read the movie's title wrong and instead saw a two-hour long documentary about escalators: Stair Wars.
And of course there's Bionic Bunny, who is totally not Superman. (Though he has a different origin story from what little we see of his show; apparently he's a cyborg instead of an alien.) A later episode has a show called Dark Bunny, seemingly a counterpart to Batman.
Shrek had a number when the main characters went to the Kingdom of Far Far Away, such as Farbucks, Burger Prince, Tower of London Records, Old Knavery, Baskin Robbinhood (with the "31" as "XXXI"), Banana Kingdom, Friar's Fat Boy, and Abercrombie & Witch.
Shrek 2: Far Far Away has stores such as "Gap Queen" (The Gap) and "Baskin Robin Hood" (Baskin Robbins).
Muppet Babies has a Pretendo in the episode "It's Only Pretendo".
In the Doug episode "Doug's Lost Weekend", Doug acquires a "Super Pretendo" video game console.
A background shot in another episode reveals that Bluffington has a "Worst Eastern" hotel.
A Disney episode shows Beebe Bluff with a laptop whose brand wasn't mentioned, but has the logo of a beet (a Running Gag in the show) and a UI that is suspiciously that of classic Mac OS.
The Boondocks episode "A Date With The Health Inspector" features the search for the "Xbox Killer". Though dialogue referred to the Xbox by name, the console itself was drawn with a Y-shaped motif on top in place of the X-shaped motif found on real Xboxes.
The episode "Smokin' With Cigarettes" featured Creepy Child Lamilton Taeshawn beating up his grandmother at a local "Walli-Mart." Curiously, Wal-Mart is referred to by name in later episodes.
Phineas and Ferb: Over the credits of "Phineas' Birthday Clip-a-Thon", we hear Candace saying "Mom!" repeatedly, to the tune of the them song. At the end, she says, "Mom! Phineas and Ferb digitally tuned my voice!" (rather than AutoTuned)
One Family Guy Halloween episode gives us this exchange near the end:
Stewie: Brian, you took me out on my first Halloween tonight, and you showed me an exciting time. And for that, I'm going to let you pick out some candy from my bag. Brian: Oh, thanks. Stewie: And keep in mind we can't use any brand names, due to advertising concerns. Brian: Right, okay, I'll have a Mr. Wiffle bar, a Kooky Nut Pop, some Gyminyms, uh a Zip-Zap, a Choco-Buddy, uh, a $64000 Bar, a Not-A-Finger, and a Dawkin's Peanut Butter Disk. Stewie: God, I hate television...
Similar dialogue appeared in "Cool Hand Peter", which is currently the page quote:
Peter: Boy, I feel like I haven't eaten in a week. Hey, if we pass a McDaniel's or a Burger Queen, let's hop out. Quagmire: Oh, that's right. We're on television. Joe: Oh, I'd love a flame-broiled Bopper! Quagmire: This is so frustrating. We all know what we're talking about!
Joe: I put in a call from the McDaniel's payphone while you guys were getting that nine-piece Chicken McFingers and those Diet Conks and those Fresh Fries. Quagmire: Oh, come on! They don't own French Fries!
In the 2010 version of Pound Puppies, Mrs. McLeish entered her puppy into the Northminster Dog Show after being challenged by her rival.
American Dad! has the department stores C. J. Neppey (J. C. Penney), Big Buy (Best Buy), and CostGo (Costco).
In the halloween episode, Francine mentions going to Tar-Jays (Target?) and picking up some Huggies.
One episode of Regular Show had Bensen visit a bookstore called Corners, a parody of the now-defunct Borders.
In ¡Mucha Lucha!, the Flea's parents run a donut shop called Slammin' Donuts.
The House of Mouse short "computer.don" featured a Doors 2001 computer.
Chip 'n Dale Rescue Rangers doesn't make a lot of use of this trope, but it does have an episode ("The Case of the Cola Cult") partly revolving around a beverage named "Coo-Coo Cola". While there isn't any Coke-like logo seen anywhere, the theme song mentioned that "it's bottled in Pensacola" where the Coca-Cola Company did have a bottling plant at that time.
Batman: What kind of saboteur uses a $6000 Metronex to trigger a time bomb? Alfred: A saboteur with too much money?
The Transformers: Certain characters whose toys originally came from Diaclone transformed into specific sponsored race cars. Mirage turned into the Gitanes-sponsored no. 26 Ligier JS-11, Jazz turns into the Martini Racing no. 4 Porsche 935 Turbo, and Wheeljack turns into the Alitalia-sponsored Lancia Stratos Turbo No. 539. To avoid infringement, the brand names were changed to: "Citanes", "Martinii", and "Alitalla". Unreleased in Transformers was another toy using the Stratos mold but with a different head and bearing the deco from real cars' tenure under Marlboro (changed to "Marlboor").
In Smeshariki, Losyash uses the operating system "Okna 96", a parody of Windows 95/98 with a similar boot screen. ("Okna" is Russian for "Windows".)
Foster's Home for Imaginary Friends: "Bloo's Brothers" has Mac and Bloo excited about getting tickets to the "Ice Charades". Lampshaded in the lyrics to the Ice Charades theme song:
Oh, Ice Charades, you're so icy and fun! Oh, Ice Charades, it's not the "capade" one!
Because the name Super Bowl is trademarked by the NFL, advertisers, businesses, and newspapers are strictly forbidden to use the name in any promotions or advertisements. However, it is not illegal to use such terms as "Super Sunday", "Big Game Sunday", "Big Football Game", etc. in campaigns centered on the Super Bowl.
One ad for snack foods (or beer?) played with this, by having one character give out charades clues for "Super Bowl" and the others cluelessly guessing things like "Blooper Mole".
In a truly moustache-twirling display of villainous greed, the NFL actually attempted to trademark "The Big Game", giving Disney a bit of competition for the honor of having the unluckiest PR department in the business world. Luckily for every ad, movie, TV show, and piece of literature to use that term, the NFL's request was turned down.
Manufacturers of some counterfeit products make small changes to names, logos, and other trademarks. Some examples can be found on Engadget's "Keepin' It Real Fake" series. An example seen by this editor would be a "Game Bay" cartridge made by "Nintende(TN)".
Many companies that manufacture unlicensed accessories for the Nintendo Wii mark them as being for the "Wü".
From The Fifties through The Seventies, it was common for cars to have names spelled out in separate chromed diecast letters along the hood, trunklid or fenders, bolted or riveted in place. Urban legend had it that these would sometimes be misspelled by the factory workers. Documented evidence does exist of one division's nameplate being placed on one part of the car and a different one on another (such as "Buick" on the grill and "Oldsmobile" on the trunk lid). Most common of all was their letters falling off, leaving the driver with a Fo_d, C_evrolet, or even Do_g_.
It's also quite common for people to alter the badging themselves even in modern times. Toyota trucks especially get this treatment, with the large TOYOTA lettering on the tailgate being altered to either show TOY or even YO.
There's a whole market for imaginary products in the form of 3D assets that people purchase, especially for use with the Poser home animation program. While there's no real problem with using something trademarked, many trademarked logos are also copyrighted. Of course, at the same time, people tend to want things based on stuff they're familiar with, either from popular fiction or from the real world, and so this leads to "almost-but-not-quite" products, often with "Pose" or "Poser" in the name, many of which can be found at Renderosity, ShareCG, TurboSquid and elsewhere.
KFG◊, which would beKentucky Fried.....uh...Goat? Groundhog? Gerbil? Gorilla? Gecko? Gazelle? Goldfish? Grizzly? Guppy? Galapagos Tortoise? note (The letter "G" sounds exactly the same as the Chinese word for "Chicken".)
There's one in New Jersey that has an acronym of KFC and a predominantly-red color scheme: Kennedy Fried Chicken.
And Kantouri Fried Chicken in the Washington, DC area.
In Mexico, just over the California border, is a restaurant called Kentucky Fried Buches. (Buches are fried chicken necks. Yum.)
The Transformers franchise has had to deal with some of this over the years. The original toy line featured some vehicle modes that strongly resembled real life models. When they do an Anniversary toy line with an updated version, they sometimes just cannot take what the car was originally because of licensing problems. For example: Bumblebee was a VW beetle and Jazz was a Porsche. Both companies did not want to be associated with a violent kids show. So instead Hasbro would create a car design that was far enough removed from the name brand but close enough that there is no problem recognising the character. The 2007 movie did not have that luxury, and just changed the alternate modes. Although the Alternators and Binaltech lines were unique for having absolutely everything be a licensed toy, though it was mostly Ford, Chevy and Dodge.
The original Mirage and Wheeljack toys play with this trope. Takara originally had licenses from car manufacturers for their Diaclone line, which were imported unchanged by Hasbro. As racing cars, Mirage and Wheeljack's vehicle forms were licensed from Ligier and Lancia, respectively, though their primary sponsors (Gitanes and Alitalia, respectively), not so much. The toys were rebranded "Citanes" and "Alitalla". A Diaclone-exclusive Stratos in Marlboro livery was similarly changed by Takara, resulting in a toy fans refer to as "Marlboor" Wheeljack. "Marlboor" made a cameo in an issue of The War Within (though without the sponsor names, of course, since this was set millions of years ago on Cybertron).
"Morphobots" were bootlegs of the Transformers Cybertron Legends (mostly beasts) toys sold in dollar stores.
There are a lot of these in open-air markets and bazaars in the Philippines, which tend to feature a lot of knockoffs from China, Taiwan, and other neighboring nations. A Power Pop Girls towel, a Jurassic Wars set (a WWII soldier inexplicably packaged with a pink plastic velociraptor), and Guchi handbags among several others.
KenSingTon, makers of the "Vii", a knockoff of the Wii. The Vii got the nickname "Chintendo Vii" after widespread exposure on the Internet.
There was also a pirate game company named Chintendo.
The film studio The Asylum specializes in making low-budget movies that vaguely resemble recent blockbusters (dubbed Mockbusters by film critics). Some examples include Pirates of Treasure Island, Snakes on a Train, The Da Vinci Treasure, and Transmorphers.
Can't help pointing out the absurd similarity between the name Mountain Dew and Sierra Mist. For those of you who still don't get it: The Sierra Mountain chain is a series of mountains and dew and mist are both types of surface condensation. Quite understandable, however, as both are made by Pepsi.
There's a legitimate electronics company whose name sounds like an example: Magnasonic. And it makes total sense if you know Latin: "Magna" = "large or great", while "sonic" = "sound". "Pan" (as in "Panasonic") = "all", and "vox" (as in "Magnavox") = ..."voice"? Maybe?
There's one that's a blatant rip-off of NEC: A legitimate electronics company called MEC (Malaysian Electronics Corporation). And weirder brands like Panashiba and Tobishi.
Enercell batteries sold at RadioShack always seemed to me like a cross between Energizer and Duracell.
Palsonic is another one, as well as Pensonic.
This commercial from March 25, 1980 is for a product actually called "Arthritis Pain Formula", with extremely-generic packaging and promotion. Later spots like this and this were clearer that it was from the maker of Anacin. Oh, and it's still around today (albeit in far less generic packaging).
Occasionally when franchise stores close down and are bought up by smaller businesses, the new store ends up with a suspiciously similar name, especially if they're selling a similar product. This seems to be as much about saving money by only making minor alterations to a sign as it is momentarily confusing people into stopping in. Not Fooling Anybody offers up such examples as a Mister Donut becoming Master Donut, A Texaco becoming Exaco (yes, they actually just ripped the T off the signs), and most nonsensically, a Baskin Robbins becoming Basket Rabbit.
Exidy (early arcade game developer) → Exide (battery brand).
Stuart Ashen comes across these all the time. The most notorious examples are the POP Station, which later got a spiritual successor in the PCP Station, the Neo Double Games (DS) and the "Chintendo" Vii, a bland redesign of the Wii. It should be noted that neither comes close to matching the feature set of its brand-name counterpart.
There's also the infamous Penesamig batteries that have been mentioned a few times since their initial on-screen appearance.
The discount grocery store chain Aldi has a lot of this in their stores. An example is "Cinnamon Crunch Squares" (Cinnamon Toast Crunch).
To the point it can be a surreal experience walking around an Aldi: almost every product looks almost, but not exactly, like the brand-leader product. The effect is that everything is a bit... off.
In the Philippines again, there's the McDonald's combined with the local competitor to produce McDolibee. And it was a barbecue stand!
Colombia has many examples.
In Bogotá, Surtidora de Aves was a well-known chain of fried chicken fast food restaurants. In the mid-90's there were around 600 small business which copied the name and logo of the company (Surtiaves, Surtiaves 22, Surtidora de Aves de la 22, Suriaves, Surtidorado de Aves 22...). This effectively drove the company to change the name to "Compañía del Sabor".
Hunky Dorys crisps received a knockoff called Okey Dokeys.
You can buy a Polex watch and then modify the P a little bit if you want.
Kennedy Fried Chicken is an odd subversion. You'd really think it's a knockoff of a certain better-known KFC, but it's not.
After the fall of Gaddafi, many businesses unofficially sporting Western-oriented brands have popped up in Libya. (For example, Uncle Kentucky Fried Chicken, sometimes spelled Kentaki.) The reason is that even though the civil war ended, international companies are still wary about doing business in Libya due to the uncertain political climate.
Egypt seems to have a renamed copy of most branded alcoholic drinks (though the contents tend to be either 'dark spirit', 'clear spirit' or 'beer')... Becardoi (strapline: Heart Good Rom!), Gordoons Gin and Johnny Waler to name but a few.
The town of Zilwaukee, Michigan, located just north of Saginaw, got its name in a deliberate attempt to get people to confuse it with Milwaukee, Wisconsin and settle in Michigan instead.