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Can't Believe It's Not...
An advertising trope wherein a product or service is not just being different from its competitors, but not being what its competitors are at all. Most of the time, this is despite any layman comparing the two and saying, "yeah, they're both the same." Sometimes, however, this is the ad company taking advantage of federal laws: Because of the requirements for some foods to be called butter, for example, some of these products aren't legally butter, but to a normal consumer, it's basically the same.

Subtrope of Insistent Terminology.


  • The Trope Namer is, of course, I Can't Believe it's Not Butter! It falls under the second half of this trope, because it isn't butter, but margarine.
    • Same goes for Parkay spread, and its "Butter!" "Parkay!" advertisements.
  • Miracle Whip advertises itself as a "Salad Dressing", despite going for the same market as mayonnaises like Hellman's. Again, this is because there are specific requirements for a food to be mayonnaise; Hellman's fits, Miracle Whip doesn't (but it can be called salad dressing.)
  • "It's way better than fast food. It's Wendy's."
    • It's also common for Subway to treat itself as better than fast food, despite basically being the same category.
  • has recently started saying it's not a dating site, but a "relationship site". Isn't that the same thing?
  • Hasbro marketed G.I. Joe toys as "action figures", because "boys don't play with dolls".
  • "It's not TV, it's HBO."
  • "Aquafresh isn't toothpaste, it's the whole mouth paste."
    • Aim: "We don't use toothpaste anymore;" since it's a gel, it isn't toothpaste.
      • Pearl Drops Tooth Polish had a similar ad long ago (not tooth paste, tooth polish).
  • Pritt Stick adhesive was once advertised in the UK as "The non-sticky sticky stuff (not glue)".
  • isn't a search engine, it's a "decision engine".

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