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Bland-Name Product

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But I prefer Bepsi Cola.

Peter: Hey, if we pass a McDaniels 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: So frustrating. We all know what we're talking about...
Family Guy, "Cool Hand Peter"

When you want to refer to a well-known brand name, but the legal department is advising you to avoid using trademarks in your show, you can just change a few letters around to thinly disguise the brand name (Coca-Cola → Coke Colan) or snowclone the name (Dr Pepper → Mr Topper) or use the same color scheme.

In some cases, the logo itself will be changed to something which reflects the change in name. For example, if "Mitsubishi" = "three diamonds", then "Mitsuboshi" will have a logo with three stars,note  and "Yotsubishi" a logo with four diamonds.

Contrast Shoddy Knockoff Product (actually trying to rip people off with names similar to brand names) and Product Placement (when the real product name is used extensively due to an endorsement deal with the company in question). When this is done to copyrighted characters, see Captain Ersatz. When this is done to non-products (such as a company, organization, or concept), then it's a Fictional Counterpart. See also Brand X, when generic names are used, and Product Displacement, for when brand names are blocked out, blurred, or otherwise redacted. Compare Serial Numbers Filed Off.


A Super-Trope to:


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Other examples:

    open/close all folders 

  • One UK advert for Argos shows their mascot blue alien characters ordering online from 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.
  • A Sprite commercial shows an ad for a Jooky soft drink.
    • We also got "Sun Fizz" from the same company.

  • 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.'" — 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.)

    Asian Animation 
  • In the Lamput episode "Diet Doc", Fat Doc goes on a diet and tries to avoid fried chicken since eating it will ruin his diet. Lamput, naturally, distracts him into visiting a fried chicken restaurant anyway; the restaurant he visits is called "MFC", referencing the Kentucky Fried Chicken (KFC) chain of restaurants.
  • In the Motu Patlu episode "Flying Helmet", Motu is shown to have a page on Fakebook, a social media website which is a reference to Facebook.
  • Simple Samosa:
    • In the episode "Jalebi's Birthday", Jalebi uses a Google Maps parody called "Gargle Maps" to locate Vada when he asks her for help getting off of a non-working escalator in a mall.
    • In "Doctor D", Dhokla as the celebrity Doctor D uploads a rap video to a video website called "GheeTube". Mayor Royal Falooda, upon making his own rap song under the alias of Doctor M, uploads that to the same website later in the episode.

    Comic Strips 

    Fan Works 

    Films — Animation 
  • Foodfight!: Originally written with the premise of showcasing brand-name items, the film became an infamous Development Hell in which the majority of license owners refused to let their product names or mascots be used, effectively robbing the film of the majority of its cast. To work around the problem, the producers created dozens of stand-in Bland Name Product mascots—many of which were so ugly and unappealing that critics speculated they were intended as a Take That! to the original license holders.
  • Considering that Shrek takes place in an Anachronistic Fairy-Tale satire world, a good amount of its background humor comes from Far Far Away's Medieval counterparts of contemporary products. Attentive Viewers will notice stores such as Farbucks, Tower of London Records, Old Knavery, Burger Prince, Baskin Robbinhood (with the "31" as "XXXI"), Banana Kingdom, Friar's Fat Boy, Abercrombie & Witch, among others..
  • In Over the Hedge, the three porcupine kids manage to steer a van using skills learned by playing "Auto Homicide 3". Also, given the premise, there are also loads of other fictional brands for the junk food the gang steals (including the very prominent 'Spuddies', which was originally going to actually be Pringles but the studio couldn't get the proper rights).
  • Hoodwinked!: in her "The Real G" montage, there's a shot of Granny Puckett skydiving while drinking a can of "Forest Dew" Soda which plays along with the Mountain/Forest setting of the movie).
  • The tires that Lightning McQueen wears in Cars are branded Lightyear Buzzard tires, which doubles as a reference to the Goodyear Eagle tire brand as well as to Pixar's own Buzz Lightyear.
  • Speaking of Toy Story, the yellow Pizza Planet Truck has on its tailgate the barely readable brand which sure looks a lot like Toyota. The driver seems to have scratched out parts of the logo though, leaving behind only the letters "Y" and "O." Apparently it's made by 'Gyoza' (which is Japanese for "dumpling"). The films also manage to quite notably avert this trope with the extensive amount of real world manufacturers and toys brands they managed to coheres into getting, such as Hasbro, Playschool, and Mattel, not to mention the many characters based on established brands like Mr. Potato Head, Barbie and others.
  • Shark Tale has "Coral Cola", Newsreef (Newsweek), Kelpy Kreme Donuts (Krispy Kreme), and "Gup" (Gap).
  • Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse invokes this with Miles Morales's universe having "Koca-Soda" instead of "Coca-Cola", "RedEx" instead of "FedEx", "USB" instead of "UPS", and even the New York Police Department being abbreviated "PDNY". Peter's universe, however, does see Product Placement with Coca-Cola and the traditional "NYPD" abbreviation.
  • In Chicken Run, when the order "Chocks away!" is given, triangular "Tasty-Choc" bars in yellow wrappers are removed from under a plane's wheels. (Interestingly, the fact that the packaging is exactly that of a Toblerone bar is properly acknowledged in the credits; it seems that the name-change wasn't so much about dodging a trademark as about making sure that the joke was accessible even to people who'd never seen a real Toblerone bar.)
  • The fourth Pleasant Goat and Big Big Wolf film shows Jonie playing with a "Pear" brand tablet, a reference to the Apple company.

  • "Dean the Barbarian and the Bus Station of Doom" (1), (2), an RPG parody in Sinclair User, has a hamburger restaurant by the name of MacDonagall's, and a soft drink called Burpsi-Cola.

    Music Videos 
  • 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.
  • The video for the Gorillaz song "19-2000" has the band riding around in a "Geep".
  • The video for "Celebrity Status" by Marianas Trench has one of the TV channels showing a Gapp commercial.
  • Played with in the music video for Thriller, where Michael Jackson and his date are watching a horror movie that's literally just named Thriller. Aside from being an in-joke, it's justified by being the very same "Thriller" which the song's lyrics refer to.
  • The Chalkeaters:
    • First seen in the "It Just Works" music video, E3 in The Chalkeaters' universe is renamed to "F3", which stands for Fan Frustration Festival.
    • Also from the "It Just Works" music video, one of the items found inside a chest is a condom branded "Dunmex", a pun on Dunmer (a race of dark elves in The Elder Scrolls) and Durex.
    • The art for the "Lock Me Up" music video features a brand of snack called "Chalkitos".
  • Austra's "Utopia" video features a Rainforest brand smart speaker standing in for Amazon Echo.


    Professional Wrestling 
  • AAA wasn't on board with then Mega Champion Jeff Jarrett taking the Championship Belt to a TNA TV taping and Jarrett complied to their wishes, instead creating a belt that looked suspiciously similar to it called the Mexican Heavyweight Title or, alternatively, the AAA World Heavyweight title.

  • 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.
  • The new rail operator in The Train Now Arriving at Platform 4 is called Arrivista, a play on Arriva which also reflects what total newcomers to the industry they are.

    Tabletop Games 
  • Shadowrun:
    • McHugh's (AKA McDonald's) is where shadowrunners go for a cheap, fast burger between runs (and to meet Mr. Johnson), according to The Neo-Anarchists' Guide to Real Life.
    • The Seattle Sourcebook has Gold Lion Inns, from the Real Life Red Lion Hotels chain.
    • The Neo-Anarchist's Guide to North America.
      • The Dallas/Fort Worth Metroplex has a department store chain called Theimann-Markles (Niemann Marcus).
      • One of the bus lines servicing Quebec City is Whippet Bus Company (AKA Greyhound Lines).
    • New Seattle. Seattle has the following stores: Lordstrungs (Nordstrom), Lacys (Macy's), Wordsworth (Woolworth), Lears (Sears) and Quickway (Safeway). It also has the company Microdeck (Microsoft).
    • The game also has a meta-example and Running Gag in the form of NERPS, or New Exciting Retail ProductS, which is a generic term for any product of the type you might pick up at a Wal-Mart. Many shadowruns center around getting information about upcoming NERPS to their manufacturers' competitors.
  • Mayfair Games' Underground supplement Streets Tell Stories had Tres Equis (Dos Equis) beer, USA Alive (USA Today) newspaper and the Roebock Athletic Shoe Corporation (Reebok).
  • SLA Industries. On Mort you can buy a Klippo (Zippo) lighter and go to Dunkem Donuts (Dunkin Donuts).
  • Paranoia XP supplement The Underplex. Clones could buy Lee-V-EYE's Sort-A-Blue PseuDenim Leisure pants, a reference to Levi's (Levi Strauss & Co.'s) jeans.
  • Toon supplement Tooniversal Tour Guide:
    • "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).
    • "Dungeons And Toons" setting. Toonquest (RuneQuest), Tunnels and Moles (Tunnels & Trolls), Dragonpants Saga (Dragonlance Saga), Forgotten Helms (Forgotten Realms)
  • Classic Traveller, Paranoia Press supplement Merchants and Merchandise Merchandise section.
    • The Canolta XA-1 camera was made by the camera company Canolta Photographics (the Japanese camera company Minolta c.f. "Only from the mind of Minolta").
    • 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).
  • Encounter Critical supplement Asteroid 1618. One of the restaurants in the Domed City is Rigellian Fried Poultroid (AKA Kentucky Fried Chicken, known as KFC nowadays).
  • Chaosium's Stormbringer supplement Demon Magic: The Second Stormbringer Companion. One of the businesses in the Velvet Circle is Froderik's Millinery, which sells "stunning garments of silk and cotton" that are "unsuitable for treks through the wilderness, but handy for an eveningÂ’s pleasure." (Frederick's of Hollywood, which sells sexy lingerie for women).
  • Cyberpunk:
    • The game has, among others, Merrill, Asukaga, & Finch (Merrill Lynch), and SegAtari (a portmanteau of Sega and Atari). Averted with companies such as Barrett and Colt, named after and with the same business as their Real Life counterparts.
    • The game's main source of para-medics is Trauma Team. Their main competitor is REO Meatwagon.
  • West End Game's Ghostbusters RPG. The Ghost Toasties adventure has a number of mascot characters from various cereals: Zap, Crinkle, and Bop (Snap, Crackle and Pop, Rice Krispies), the Quix Rabbit (the Trix Rabbit, Trix cereal), CapÂ’n Crackle (Cap'n Crunch cereal), the Cocoa Quips Koala (the Sugar Bear from Post Super Sugar Crisp), Toucan Jack (Toucan Sam, Froot Loops) and the Lucky Chomps Leprechaun (Lucky Charms leprechaun)
  • Star Fleet Battles has the Federation Express (Federal Express, AKA FedEx) Corporation. Both companies deliver packages, but Federation Express goes it across the galaxy.

  • Finian's Rainbow has the catalogue of Shears and Robust. Mr. Shears and Mr. Robust themselves make an appearance.
  • Sera Myu has Banzai as a sponsor for a Show Within a Show in Eien Desetsu's revised version. Bandai sponsored that run of the musicals. Subverted: they don't replace Bandai, and are said to make omochi (rice cakes) instead of omocha (toys).

  • The Transformers franchise has had to deal with some of this over the years. The original toyline featured some vehicle modes that strongly resembled real life models. When they do an anniversary toyline 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 recognizing the character. The 2007 movie did not have that luxury, and just changed the alternate modes. 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. "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.
  • KenSingTon, makers of the "Vii", a knockoff of the Wii. The Vii got the nickname "Chintendo Vii" after widespread exposure on the Internet.
  • NECA toys released a set of toys based on the 1990 Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles movie that included a box of "Tile Game Pizza."
  • Mixing containers that go with the Poopsie toys will almost always be labeled with a Toilet Humour-themed parody of an existing soda, perfume, fast food, drink, or coffee brand. These include "Barfbucks", "Dunk'N Deuce", "Poopda Express", and "Wipe Castle". Makes you wonder what the unicorns in the Poopsie universe are really consuming...
  • In Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse, Miles Morales wore a pair of Nike Air Jordan 1s. Due to the cost of securing the Nike license, most merchandise from the film (Such as Hasbro's Marvel Legends action figure or even the premium Hot Toys figure) instead depicted Miles in a pair of generic red sneakers.

    Visual Novels 

    Web Animation 
  • Inanimate Insanity has the MePhones, which are clearly meant to be like Apple's iPhones. Inanimate Insanity II also has the MePad, designed like the iPad.
    • Episode 8 of II2 also includes a Bland Name variant of the Apple corporation, which is, as you'd expect, Meeple. Its' creator is Steve Cobs.
    • Most object shows don't bother creating Bland Name Products, instead choosing to use the product's actual name (the host of one object show is a Wii U GamePad, and its logo is used on its face), II being the exception.
  • Klay World has Co-Co Cola.
  • Dr. Havoc's Diary has Playtoy magazine.
  • Meta Runner has quite a few, including "Soobway" and "Wondy's", and a special episode pokes fun at this trope to hell and back.
    Tari: Don't you mean Subwa—
    TheOdd1sOut: Nope, I definitely mean Soobway.
  • Tamagotchi: One Sorette, Kuchipatchi. short has Kuchipatchi dancing to a music video on PatchiDouga, a reference to Nico Nico (formerly Nico Nico Douga).
  • Zigzagged in Steve Cutts' Where Are They Now? which has both "FCK Fried Chicken" and actual KFC packaging.
  • AstroLOLogy: A fictional version of YouTube called "StarTube" shows up in a few episodes.

    Web Original 
  • Gameboys
    • Screentime for Facebook in general.
    • Vidgram for Instagram
    • Gee-mail for Gmail
    • Playflix for Netflix and other similar services
    • Session for Zoom
    • Chatter for Tinder, Grindr and other similar services
  • 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.
  • Froghand, from the Shitty Vaporwave Indie Game Reviews:
    Maybe I'll make an actual Outrun art project, involving, shit, I don't know. Hotline Miami recreated entirely in web languages. But then I'll get striked by the copyright vultures, so I'll call it "Bob Lime Boob Slamming" or what have you.
  • In We Are All Pokémon Trainers, there are several particularly "recognizable" brands and names such as Chatter (Twitter), Oddish vs. Dusknoirs, Fallout: New Nimbasa or 23Js.
  • The fourth-grade section of the educational game Proofreading Power features the shows Picklemon, This Old Room, America's Slowest Videos, Cinnamon Street, The Fussy Family and Bathtubbies on a Saturday morning schedule.
  • Yandere High School has crab as a substitute word for many things: Youcrab, Gamecrab, etc. Also "jPhone", and "Fumblr". The second season introduces the "Galaxy Nexus Crab" somewhat subtly.
  • SCP Foundation, SCP-1160 ("Effective Containment"). The true nature of SCP-1160 changes depending on what people believe about it. The Foundation keeps SCP-1160 manageable by distributing "Super Coco Pows" cereal, which has an SCP-1160-like mascot that tries to steal the cereal from children. "Super Coco Pows" is based on General Mills' "Cocoa Puffs" cereal, and the mascot is based on Sonny the Cuckoo Bird, the mascot for Cocoa Puffs.
  • One donation feature on StephenPlays' Twitch streams is for Tiny Eddie, a knock-off of the snack cake brand Little Debbie's. Triggering the feature rolls a pitch for a randomly-generated snack item, though sometimes the pitched fake product can sound bizarre.


Video Example(s):

Alternative Title(s): Wc Donalds, Weenie Burgers


Guarana Can

In a scene involving a vending machine, the Guarana can bears a close resemblance to the largest one of that kind in Brazil

How well does it match the trope?

5 (3 votes)

Example of:

Main / BlandNameProduct

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