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Bland-Name Product
aka: Wc Donalds

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But I prefer Bepsi Cola. If not, then why not Bepis?

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...

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. See also Prop.


A Super-Trope to:


Example subpages:

Other examples:

    open/close all folders 

    Advertising 
  • 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.
  • A Sprite commercial shows an ad for a Jooky soft drink.
    • We also got "Sun Fizz" from the same company.
  • Where's the Beef? ads had competing restaurants given generic names like "Home of the Big Bun" or "House of Buns" to avoid referencing Wendy's actual competition.
  • In 2024, McDonald's launched a WcDonald's campaign in collaboration with Acky Bright and Studio Pierrot, thus turning into a bland name version of itself.

    Art 
  • 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.'" —FileRoom.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.)

    Asian Animation 
  • Lamput: In the episode "Diet Doc", Specs 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.

    Eastern Animation 
  • In KikoRiki, Dokko uses the operating system "Okna 96", a parody of Windows 95/98 with a similar boot screen. ("Okna" is Russian for "Windows".)

    Fan Works 

    Films — Animation 
  • Barbie in a Mermaid Tale features such popular stores as "Fred Seagull", "Bloomingtails", and "Seaphora".
  • Despicable Me: At the end when there is a ginormous dance recital turned party in Gru's lair, a minion is shown at a DJ booth that is labeled 'Gru-Ray Disc' complete with a similar logo.
  • 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). Special mention goes to their parody of Act II popcorn, "Popcorn II: The Sequel".
  • 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 Cars franchise brings back the Dinoco oil company from Toy Story (see below) and makes it a plot point multiple times. It also turns "Lightyear" into a parody of Goodyear, with Lightning McQueen's tire of choice being Lightyear Buzzards (a reference to Goodyear's Eagle line).
  • Toy Story:
    • Pixar was able to score several product placement deals, allowing them to incorporate Mr. Potato Head, Slinky-Dog, and eventually Barbie as major characters (with too many minor ones to count), but limitations on these agreements forced them to use "Combat Carl" (who eventually became an actual character in Toy Story of Terror) in place of G. I. Joe and "Mr. Spell" in place of Texas Instruments' Speak & Spell.
    • There's also the Pizza Planet truck, modeled after the 1980s Toyota pickups that had TOYOTA plastered across the tailgate in big letters but with all the letters peeled off except "YO" (a real thing people have been known to do with those trucks). A close look at the owners' manual that Hamm peruses in Toy Story 2 reveals that the brand in-universe is actually Gyoza, which is a type of Japanese dumpling.
    • The Dinoco gas station is an interesting case: The name is probably based off gas station chains Sunoco and Amoco, but their dinosaur logo is referencing the logo for Sinclair Oil.
  • 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 the pun work better.)
  • Rock-A-Doodle: Edmund and the gang sailed through a flooded town which has a Dairy King restaurant, an obvious reference to Dairy Queen.
  • In Turning Red, Mei's backpack is a BagSport (JanSport), and Stacy's cell phone is a Jokia (Nokia).

    Magazines 
  • "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.

    Manhwa 

    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 and replacing the product's slogan of "The Freshmaker" with "The Fresh Fighter".
  • 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.

    Pinball 

    Podcasts 
  • The Adventures Of The Fox In The Fedora features a fast-food chain called "McLocals".
  • Comes up in Cool Kids Table whenever Jake suggests a "no-brands run". Several games see a flurry of these alongside fictional counterparts.
    • The Chimera Program sees the escaped superteens lift some "Chef Cook 'em Up" (Chef Boyardee).
    • In Smawl Problems, Grammy has an old Superlex Entertainment System. Jake quickly rattles off the iterations of the system as well (Superplex Plus, Tiger Superplex, Dragon Superplex, and the handheld Plexkid). She also has the board games Big Business (Monopoly), Mix'ems (Scrabble), Live It (The Game of Life), and Oops! (Sorry!).

    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.

    Radio 
  • In Cabin Pressure:
    • The airline that Douglas used to work for is called Air England rather than British Airways (who presumably wouldn't appreciate the implication they'd ever employ anyone like Douglas).
    • Similarly, GERTI The Alleged Aeroplane is a Lockheed McDonnell 312, rather than a Lockheed Martin or a McDonnell Douglas plane.
    • Averted with Talisker whisky, which comes up as a plot point whenever Mr Birling is MJN Air's passenger (which happens Once a Season); John Finnemore hadn't anticipated Birling becoming a recurring character after his first appearance, and would have made up a fictional whisky if he'd known he'd end up writing multiple episodes where everyone goes on about how delicious it is.
  • The new rail operator in The Train 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. It’s also designed to provide the armed employees with a killbox so no funny business.
    • 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 evening’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), Cap’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 does it across the known galaxy.

    Theatre 
  • 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).

    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: the original 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. Transformers (2007) 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), and later on became a canon character with the name Exhaust and recieved new figures. The first official figure of Exhaust, a retool of Masterpiece Wheeljack, didn't have any Marlboro logo on it, but the paintjob it was originally shown was still identical to the original Marlboro Stratos livery, so it got both legal issues with Philip Morris (Marlboro's parent company) and was accused to promote smoking to children. As a result, the toy deco was changed to replace the V-shaped pattern with a more squarish one (postponing its release date by a month), but it wasn't enough and the figure ended up being banned from export outside of Japan. Online store TFSource managed to circumvent the whole issue by having their entire stock of Exhaust figures further repainted to change the pattern to a straight line in order to make them legal for worldwide export.
  • 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 Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (1990) 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.
  • In the mid 60s, Japanese manufacturer Marusan began making vinyl toys based off popular hero and monster characters from series like Godzilla or Ultraman. One big-name monster icon they could not license, despite him appearing in a pair of Japanese films of the time, was King Kong. So they released a "Giant Gorilla" as part of their One Million Years B.C.-inspired line of dinosaur toys, but everyone of course knew who it was supposed to be. Without the need to worry about licensing, this Giant Gorilla was reissued in later years as well.

    Visual Novels 

    Web Animation 
  • AstroLOLogy: A fictional version of YouTube called "StarTube" shows up in a few episodes.
  • Bento Banana: Mochiflix is an anime streaming service whose name is a play on Netflix (a streaming service that serves anime).
  • Dr. Havoc's Diary has Playtoy magazine.
  • Klay World has Co-Co Cola.
  • While most Object Shows don't bother creating one and instead choose to use the product's actual name, Inanimate Insanity is a notable exception. II has the MePhones, which are clearly meant to be like Apple's iPhones as well as the MePad, designed like the iPad, for its second season. "Theft and Battery" also includes a Bland Name variant of the Apple corporation, which is, as you'd expect, Meeple with the creator being Steve Cobs.
  • 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.
  • The Mighty Grand Piton: Connie is seen with her family inside a "Yotoya" car.
  • MoniRobo: Mika auditions for a channel named Rickeloteon, a reference to Nickelodeon.
  • Murder Drones has JCJenson, which is a double reference to the Real Life company SCJohnson and a portmanteau of JC Denton and Adam Jensen's names.
  • The Robotbox and Cactus episode "Box of Wine" has a "Circle J" convenience store rather than a Circle K.
  • 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.

    Web Original 
  • 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.
  • In the commodoreHUSTLE episode "Toilet's Haunted", the medicine cabinet in the office bathroom is filled with items like Scrunt's Streaming Grease (Vaseline), Heckland's Big Hurt (Kirkland brand ibuprofen), Uh-Oh Brand Whoopsie Fuckos (Band-Aid bandages), and Dr. Flonger's Cheese Balm (unclear what it's for, but it has a Dairy Farmers of Canada logo).
  • Dr Glaucomflecken: Actually averted. The shady health insurance company is specifically mentioned to be United Healthcare, a company well-known in the US medical community for denying insurance claims on extremely flimsy pretexts.
  • 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
  • In The Gamers: Natural One, the usual cast plays a session of Cyberrun — an Urban Fantasy-slash-Cyberpunk Tabletop RPG that is most definitely unrelated to either Shadowrun or Cyberpunk.
  • Foamy the Squirrel of Illwillpress commonly uses brand substitutes: Snell Computer company, the Fatkins Diet, or StarSchmucks Coffee.
  • 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.
  • Rats SMP: The Halloween event on Day 16 features a trail of candy leading to the Playroom, including colourful "Scootles", "Kronch" chocolate bars, "Geese's Pieces", and "NicNac" packets.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.

 
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Alternative Title(s): Wc Donalds, Weenie Burgers

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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

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