Follow TV Tropes


Stuck on Band-Aid Brand

Go To

In normal conversation, people talking about a product don't specify the brand unless they need to.

People in commercials are not using normal conversation. When they talk, they are trying to sell the product, and they give the specific, trademarked name every time; not only that, but it will be the full name, without any of the abbreviations that ordinary people use when they talk about that brand. This breaks the "conversational" tone most commercials shoot for, and it invariably sounds forced and uncomfortable.

The trope name is based on a song from a Band-Aid commercial that illustrates how awkward and unnatural this trope makes speech sound. Originally, the lyrics were "I am stuck on Band-Aid, 'cause a Band-Aid's stuck on me!" But the higher-ups wanted to prevent "Band-Aid" from becoming a generic word, so they added the "Brand", breaking the meter of the jingle. Unsurprisingly, this rather awkward redaction failed, and "band-aid" has since become a genericized trademark for an adhesive bandage, at least in the United States.

Characters speaking like this on (non-commercial) TV and radio programs is a sure sign of Product Placement.

This is also seen in any suggested recipes printed on a product; not only will the recipe call for that specific product by brand name (even if it's a basic staple like salt or flour), but any other ingredients which might be manufactured or distributed by that company will also be mentioned by specific brand. It is also common for the directions on the back of shampoos to recommend a specific conditioner from the same brand.

The real reason they do this? If a particular brand name becomes synonymous with the product it identifies, the company that makes it is in danger of a Brand Name Takeover, and they don't like that.note  You'll also notice that many of these products shun being called the generic product they're associated with: Miracle Whip isn't mayo,note  Dove isn't soap, Polaner All-Fruit isn't jelly...

For similar brand-name awkwardness, see Disney Owns This Trope and Product Placement Name. Contrast Tradesnark™, where the awkwardness is pointed out and/or played for humor.


    open/close all folders 

Fictional Examples

    Films — Live-Action 
  • One particularly jarring example in the movie Cabin Fever; on their way to the title cabin, James De Bello's character says he left his "Mott's apple juice" back at the general store.
  • A Lampshaded In-Universe example: In The Truman Show, the unwitting protagonist of the eponymous Show Within a Show further suspects the supposed reality he is living in when in the midst of a heated argument with his wife, she begins speaking in unnatural nonsequitur ad-speak, as characters on the show are obligated to do brief spiels accompanying product-placement.
  • Nightcrawler: As part of his demands to use his footage, Louis gives very specific branding instructions on how his footage is to be name-checked by reporters.

  • Used to show the dystopian society of Future Korea in Cloud Atlas, where most items are referred to by the biggest brand name associated with them: nikes for shoes, disneys for movies, etc.

    Tabletop Games 
  • The Paranoia Tabletop RPG has this in universe, with B3. Officially, you are required to refer to "Bouncy Bubble Beverage Tee Emm Brand Beverage". Even in termination-happy Alpha Complex, shortening that is normal.

    Video Games 
  • Part of a running Expospeak Gag in Portal. Aperture Science tends to give everything they produce a convoluted title preceded by their own name, which culminates in this:
    GLaDOS: Did you just stuff that Aperture Science Thing We Don't Know What It Does into an Aperture Science Emergency Intelligence Incinerator?

    Web Comics 

    Western Animation 
  • Parodied in Clerks: The Animated Series:
    Injured Customer: Mary, Mother of God! I cut my hand on a rubber band! Do you sell Band-Aids?
    Randal Graves: Band-Aids is a brand name. The proper term is adhesive strips.
    Dante Hicks: The man is bleeding to death and you're getting into a semantics argument?
    Randal Graves: Man, name brand word association is one of the more subtle threats to this nation's free trade. It gives the larger, well-known companies an unfair advantage. I'm doing my part to keep the playing field level by weaning people off referring to generic products with brand names.
    Dante Hicks: Way to show some backbone.
    Randal Graves: No spine of Jell-O here, my friend.
    Injured Customer: So do you sell adhesive strips or what?
    Randal Graves: No.
    • Which is even funnier because it's not correct. They're "adhesive bandages", not "adhesive strips". An adhesive strip would just be a piece of tape.
  • Played with in South Park. The Sega Dreamcast and Nintendo Wii have both appeared on episodes. Each console was mentioned repeatedly with its manufacturer's name, where a normal person would just say "Dreamcast" or "Wii".
  • On time in The Simpsons, Bart lamented finding Otto in a dumpster, whereupon he corrected him. "Dumpster brand trash bins are top of the LINE! This is just a Trash Co waste disposal unit." There really is such a brand (or was).
  • This was played with in an episode of The Fairly OddParents! where a gelatin dish was always referred to as "Gelatin brand gelatin", referencing Jell-O's Brand Name Takeover for gelatin desserts.

Real-Life Examples

    Clothing Products 
  • Americans (and Britons) use the term Speedo for the style of men's undergarments/swimming clothes that basically cover the genitals, buttocks and little else. Speedo is the name of the Australian company that makes such items of swimwear. Australians call the items "bathers", "undies" or "budgie smugglers". "Budgie smugglers" is the dirtier term, and slightly offensive to some people. It comes from the fact that, wearing one, it looks like you're smuggling a small bird in your underwear.
  • Although Onesies is a trademark of Gerber, it has become a generic term (at least, in America) for the little shirt-thingies worn by babies. Gerber was/is not pleased.
  • "Rollerblades" is widely used to mean any kind of inline roller skates, not necessarily Rollerblade-brand inline skates. Never, EVER used to refer to two-axle roller skates, however; the most common term for these is the completely generic "quad skates".

    Computer and Electronic Products 
  • Adobe tried to curtail the use of the Photoshop trademark as a verb, by sending out a press release saying, basically, you can't do that. Instead of "Photoshopping", they wanted you to say, "I edited the picture in Adobe® Photoshop® software." (Adding "version 7.0" at the end is optional.) Naturally, everybody MUST care. This is the page with their trademark guidelines — with examples!
    • Always capitalize and use trademarks in their correct form.
      CORRECT: The image was enhanced with Adobe® Photoshop® Elements software.
      INCORRECT: The image was photoshopped.
      INCORRECT: The image was Photoshopped.
      INCORRECT: The image was Adobe® Photoshopped.
    • A lot of people use "photochopped, "shopped", " or "photoshooped". (Uh-uh. You can't name it confusingly similar.)
    • The part about Adobe® AIR® took it to dangerous levels: You can't use "AIR" anywhere in the title of your application, your company/trade dba name, your domain name, in your service name, or if it is related to Adobe® AIR® software (unless, of course, you're Adobe.)
  • Google similarly frowns upon people saying "Googling," meaning "Look up on a search engine, Google or not." New Scientist magazine, as it's in print, had to get around this, so every time they refer to Google they say "a famous web search engine" or "FWSE" for short. It's a peculiar case though, since this is one instance where people genuinely usually don't say "Google" if they're not using Google.
    • This was parodied savagely by Google during 2010 April Fools.
    • "Google it with Bing". Even Microsoft employees aren't afraid to use this joke in public (in mild rebellion against the company line to, of course, promote Bing for, decisioning where possible). No doubt Microsoft would be overjoyed if people started talking about "binging" things (when pronounced properly, of course) like in Hawaii Five-0.
  • Commercials for Helio mobile products go so far as to have people come to blows or suffer a Karmic Death if they dare refer to their devices as a "phone". One of those commercials also had a Discriminate and Switch when the daughter brings home a man of a different race and doesn't care about the very offensive things her parents say, but she does get upset over their calling his Helio a phone.
  • Odd inversion: Apple, Microsoft, and various other companies are all (for different reasons) actively trying to associate the term "PC" with "a desktop computer that's not made by Apple". The truth is that "PC" stands for "Personal Computer" and can thus refer to all desktop computers intended for personal use, including Macs. Non-Apple computers usually run Windows, but don't have to, so it's been hard to put any particular branding on them. And the fact that Apple manufactures computers that can boot in Windows makes things even more confusing.
    • Of course, it just gets worse when people try to use "computer" as a generic word to refer to both Apple-made computers and "other" computers, not realizing that they're stepping back to a much broader level than they anticipate.
    • Then there's Linux, which runs on PCs, Macs, Suns, or, according to Internet legend, dead badgers. There's no such thing as a "Linux" computer.
    • And this use of "PC" to refer to a specific platform is something of a holdover from when most computers based on Intel x86 architecture (on which MSDOS and Windows were designed to run) were properly called "IBM PC-Compatible".
      • Originally IBMs ran PC-DOS. The name was owned by IBM, but Microsoft could sell it to other companies, which it did as "MS-DOS." In the early days "PC-Compatible" meant it should run PC-DOS software, but the emulation wasn't always perfect.
      • Back in the 1980s (when IBM-type PCs were relatively common as home computers but by no means the ubiquitous choice they later became) people would often refer to one as "an IBM-compatible".
      • Ironically, later Macs are effectively PCs with some architecture changes; this explains the success of the "hackintosh" versions of Mac OS X (running it on non-Apple hardware).
  • Making a photocopy of something will often be called "xeroxing" it in the popular lexicon (case in point: Xenomorph Xerox). Xerox is but only one company that makes photocopiers. Every few years, Xerox Corp. runs campaigns to clarify that Xerox is not a verb.
  • In an attempt to differentiate their product line from other Android-based cell phones, Verizon makes special effort to brand theirs as "Droid"—including licensing the word "droid" from Lucasfilm.

    Food and Beverage Products 
  • In his book The Gallery of Regrettable Food, James Lileks reprints a recipe from a 1950s Heinz cookbook — a barbecued-chicken recipe which calls specifically for Heinz vinegar, Heinz Worcestershire sauce, Heinz 57 Sauce, and Heinz ketchup. (This recipe/advertisement is also an instance of Carnivore Confusion, as the illustration shows barbecued chicken being prepared by an anthropomorphized chicken.) Recipes on brand-name labels still follow that formula to this day, naming company-specific ingredients.
  • Almost all cereal ads do this. No one ever just eats Frosted Flakes or Grape Nuts, it's always "Kellogg's Frosted Flakes" or "Post Grape Nuts".
    • For Frosted Flakes, at least, it's justified - generic/store brand knockoffs are almost always also called "Frosted Flakes." Also justified with "Raisin Bran", which both Post and Kellogg's have a version of.
    • Lampshaded in a commercial for Kellogg's Raisin Bran Crunch. Three guys are sitting around eating the cereal, while two of them debate which is the most important part of the cereal's name, the "Raisin" or "Crunch" parts. The third guy chimes in with the opinion that "Kellogg's" is the best part of the name, for obviously stupid reasons in order to incite comedic effect. The ad can be viewed here.
    • Curiously, General Mills does not do this with their cereals, i.e. you rarely, if ever, hear commercials for General Mills Cheerios, Cocoa Puffs, Trix, etc..
      • Many commercials say "General Mills cereal" in their commercial at least once, but refer to the products themselves as merely "Cheerios" or whatever.
  • Most bars have a copy of the very comprehensive Old Mr. Boston recipe book, and every one of the cocktails calls for "Old Mr. Boston Brand...[absolutely anything at all]." This included mixes, beer, booze, cocktail stirrers, straining spoons, and cinnamon sticks. Many of these products have long since been discontinued, and those that haven't have dropped the "old" from their name, but the blatant product placement remained unchanged in the book's annual (until 2003) updates, because people complained when it was taken out. Apparently, they found it funny.
  • One of the few examples of this trope not seeming ridiculous would be the famous Grey Poupon mustard commercials; most probably because mustard already came in many well-known varieties, and so it only seemed reasonable that a person of wealth and taste would prefer a particular one. It helped that they simply called it "Grey Poupon", and not "Grey Poupon brand mustard".
  • "More Ovaltine Hot Please!"
    • "Mmm, this is great Ovaltine... is it NesQuik?"
    • Apparently the brand name is "Rich Chocolate Ovaltine" even though the "Rich Chocolate" is clearly under the brand name as a flavor....
  • As for NesQuik itself, it was originally named Quik and marketed as "Nestlé's Quik". In Europe it was known as NesQuik from the start and that name was adopted worldwide in 1999 to simplify advertising. Later advertising refers to it as "Nestlé NesQuik".
  • An ad for Polaner All-Fruit featured rich people asking to "Pass the Polaner All-Fruit," around a table. When one of them asks (in a broad Texan cowboy accent) "Could'ya please pass the jelly?" everyone present is shocked by his faux "faux-pas."
  • Also annoying are the commercials for Totinos Pizza Rolls, where a bunch of hungry kids will refer to the snack exactly like that. "Hey, let's have Totinos Pizza Rolls." "I LOVE Totinos Pizza Rolls!" Somewhat justified, as children do occasionally use this trope in regular speech. In particular, the more picky eaters who will always insist on a particular brand.
  • The Domino's commercial in which a Sub-Mart employee asks repeatedly why he would ever order a "Domino's Oven-Baked Sandwich". How this doesn't tip off his fellow employees to his betrayal, I'm not sure. There is a cut where he denies having ordered a Domino's Oven-Baked Sandwich from Domino's Pizza.
  • For many years the Coca-Cola Company resisted the use of the term "Coke" to refer to its product. This is due to the fact that "coke" is a generic term for any brand or flavor of soft drink in some areas of the U.S. (including Atlanta, home of the company). In 1941, however, at the tail end of a "war against imitators"—when the company had decided to sue against any other product containing "Cola" in its name, on the grounds that Coca-Cola was "an aggregate word consisting of two inseparable parts, and each part is so linked and riveted to the other part in the public mind that when one is used the other is drawn to it", culminating in a worldwide litigation against their archenemy Pepsi-Cola—the two presidents of the respective companies met and out of nowhere (and to the utmost shock and disbelief of their legal counsels) decided to settle. As a result, Coca-Cola essentially abandoned any claims on "Cola" (while continuing to clamp down on imitators who deliberately took a phonetically similar name, like Cleo-Cola), and came out with a series of advertisements asserting that "Coke means Coca-Cola". Then The '80s happened, and the word got away from them a little...
    • In the UK "Diet Coke" is the 'official' brand.
    • Meanwhile, the company's original 1971 "I'd Like to Teach the World to Sing" commercial is arguably one of the greatest ads of all time. In 1990, they did a remake, featuring the original singers and their kids on the same hilltop. Of course, by 1990 the full brand name for their flagship soda was "Coca-Cola Classic", so the singers are dutifully singing "Coca-Cola Classic" as often as possible...
  • Riding on the trend of "Coke" becoming generic, Pepsi ran ads featuring Bernie Mac telling people to specifically ask for a Pepsi if they want a Pepsi. It showed people asking for a "Coke" and then wondering where their Pepsi was. Less amusingly, companies have sued over restaurants substituting the requested beverage without asking permission — the most notable case involving the Howard Johnson's chain and their one-time policy of serving their in-house cola drink in lieu of Coke or Pepsi. Which is why waitstaff will be quite diligent in asking if substitutions are okay.
    • In Israel, the word "coke" actually means any type of soft drink. If you order a "soda" you will receive club soda or seltzer. However, there is probably very little Coke/Pepsi confusion because of politics being the way it is: if you do business in Israel, you get boycotted in certain Arab states, and vice versa. Coke picked Israel, Pepsi picked the Arab world. (Historically, at any rate. Today, both colas are equally ubiquitous in Israel and the Arab world, although there might be slight variations in popularity.)
  • Persian is rife with these:
    • Gum is "Adams" (Cadbury-Adams),
    • Ginger ale is "Canada" (Canada Dry),
    • Soda is "Coca" (Coca-Cola, natch),
    • And, of course, the prerequisite Kleenex=tissue and Band-Aid=bandage.
  • "Gotta be a Honey Baked brand ham!" ('80s radio jingle)
  • KFC started officially using the initialism for that same reason (not, contrary to popular belief, because they were threatened by the state of Kentucky, because they didn't like the connotations of the word "fried" or because the product couldn't legally be called chicken). The idea that they were told to by the state of Kentucky actually derives from a joke article on that was posted in a section named TROLL but was easy to take out of context and mistake for real. Snopes also points out that the part about not legally calling it chicken is an urban legend, but claims that avoiding the connotations of "fried" really was a genuine reason for the renaming (though only one of several).
    • Recently downplayed: while KFC is still the official name, "Kentucky Fried Chicken" is now being used more prominently.
  • Twinkies ads refer to the particularly clumsy "Hostess® Twinkies® cakes."
  • Bud Light beer once had a series of commercials in which people who simply asked their bartenders to "gimme a light", without including the magic word "Bud", were presented (much to their surprise) with things like flashlights and bug lights. "Bud Light: because anything else, is just a light"
  • This upbeat commercial for M&M's carefully adds a "chocolate candies" to the first and last times the product's name is mentioned. While the first shout-out is worked into the song, the second one is done as a voiceover that otherwise has no rhyme or reason.
  • "Watch that wobble, see that wiggle, taste that jiggle, Jell-O Brand Gelatin..."
  • Burger King seems to be advertising the classic Whopper as the "Whopper Sandwich".
  • The old-school Kool-Aid commercials, where Kool-Aid Man bursts through a wall (Oh Yeahhhhh!!), typically ended with:
    Kid 1: Your friend's cool.
    Kid 2: He's Kool-Aid!
    Voice-over: Kool-Aid brand soft-drink mix.
    All: Oh yeah!
  • Hormel Foods Corporation, the makers of SPAM, wish people wouldn't use a certain Internet slang term in association with "unsolicited commercial e-mail" or "unwanted junk e-mail." For a while in the early days, they would even sue the makers of software applications using this term. In the last couple decades they've more or less bowed to the inevitable, and only try to repress uses that go beyond just calling junk e-mail "spam" and actually associate it with the SPAM product more directly (e.g. referring to junk e-mail with a picture of a can of SPAM). They may also be hoping that use of the term keeps their fine canned meat products on the public mind. They also take care to remind people that Hormel itself never sends out spam.
  • Tater Tots is a brand name owned in America by Ore-Ida, in turn a part of Kraft Heinz.
  • "Hello, my name is Crispy, how do you do? Crispy Critters Cereal's entirely new!"
  • A commercial for Cheetos involved a mom asking the rest of the family, "Which one of you ate all the Flamin' Hot Cheetos Snacks?" (But maybe that was easier to say than "Cheetos Crunchy Flamin' Hot Cheese Flavored Snacks.")

    Health and Beauty Products 
  • Adding unspeakable insult to injury, the original trope-naming "Stuck On Me" Band-Aid without Brand commercial had even earned a Clio Award (comparable to an Oscar in the advertising world), including a shared credit for the song's composer Barry Manilow, who is (inadvertently) the Trope Maker.
    • In Britain, "plaster" (Band-Aid) is used. However, "plaster" isn't a brand name in itself (the closest to "plaster" is the brand Elastoplast, which is also sometimes used generically).
    • In Germany the Leukoplast brand came close to becoming a generic term, in the post-war years one of the small little vehicles produced in the era (a sort of cross between a scooter and a car) was nicknamed "Leukoplastbomber" because you would do small repairs on it with plaster.
  • If you're having a heart attack or think you might be having one, be sure the aspirin you take is Bayer brand aspirin. Presumably aspirin from any other brand will kill you.
    • This only applies in the US, UK, and France, where Bayer lost the trademark on "Aspirin" after World War I as a form of reparations. In the rest of the world the generic name is "acetylsalicylic acid".
      • Or, in Poland, "*pirin". There's "Polopirin", "Etopirin", "Coffepirin" (with caffeine; basically Excedrin without the Tylenol—er, acetominophen) and "Calcipirin" (with calcium, apparently for colds).
      • Or, in Russia, it is simply aspirin, since the old Soviet command economy didn't care about capitalist laws and customs and just produced aspirin without asking permission.
      • This got weird when they started running Western commercials about Bayer aspirin, referring to it as just "aspirin". Most people were trying to figure out what's so good about this aspirin, when they've been getting theirs from the drug store for years and it works just fine.
  • One of the Aussie brand shampoos has the typical "we recommend following with Aussie <enter variety here> Conditioner" in its directions, but then adds "but we would say that, wouldn't we?" to it.
  • There is a habit of calling all diapers "Pampers". This is especially prevalent in Puerto Rico, parts of the United States, the Caribbean, Poland, the Netherlands, Post-Soviet states, as well as parts of Southeast Asia and South Asia.
  • In some areas all vaporubs are called "Vicks Vaporub" or just "Vicks".
  • Anyone could enter a supermarket or drugstore and prefer its cheaper brand of cotton swabs over Q-Tips®, & yet they'll habitually identify them as Q-Tips.

    Mass Media 
  • DC Comics and Marvel Comics famously hold a joint trademark on the terms "Super Hero" and "SUPER HEROES"™ , so that in practice no other companies are allowed to use the term to advertise (or name) their products in related situations. Legally, they own bupkis except lawyers. They "bought" the word from Mego Toys. But they're both so sue-happy that no-one dares (or can afford to) challenge them.
  • The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (AMPAS) would like to remind you that Academy Award® and Oscar® are both registered trademarks. Although you can hear someone thanking "The Academy" for an award, they never say what academy or call it an "Academy Award", unless the AMPAS has given permission.
  • In Japanese, single-panel comic strips were, and in some places still are, known as "Panchi-e" ("Punch-pictures") after the famous British humor magazine Punch!, which introduced that style of comics to the nation through imports, and later a local edition for the English expat community, during the Meiji era.

  • If you like association football (soccer in the US, Canada, Australia, and a few other places), please be reminded that there isn't a world championship. You have to call it the FIFA World Cup™.
  • "The Super Bowl® is a registered trademark of the National Football League. Any rebroadcast, retransmission, or other use of this term without the express written consent of the NFL is prohibited." Which is why advertisers who want to hawk Super Bowl-related products without actually paying the NFL for the right to use the words will often euphemistically refer to something like "the big game", or "getting ready for Sunday", and trust the listener to connect the dots. And any organization or business that wants to host a Super Bowl party had better not call it a Super Bowl party unless they want the pants sued off them, even if it's a free event hosted by a non-profit organization like a local community church.
    • To show that corporate greed knows no bounds, the NFL actually tried to trademark "The Big Game" in 2006 but withdrew the application a year later, mainly due to opposition from Stanford University and the University of California, Berkeley, as their football teams have competed in the annual "Big Game" since 1892. Which was nearly 30 years before the NFL itself existed.
  • American sports fans often refer to the semifinals of any championship tournament as the Final Four, thanks to the high popularity of college basketball. The National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) is quite firm about reminding fans, media outlets, and advertisers that Final Four® is a registered trademark in the United States, and may ONLY be used (with permission) to refer to the semifinals of the NCAA's own postseason championship tournaments.
    • But only in the US—many European sporting bodies use the term for their own championship events, most notably the EuroLeague in men's basketball.
    • And the NCAA uses that term only in Division I and Division III basketball—the Division II basketball championships use Elite Eight®, reflecting the size of the championship events in that division. Other NCAA D-I championship events that involve four teams either use a derivative form (e.g., Frozen Four® in ice hockey) or something completely different (e.g., College Cup® in soccer). The corresponding women's events have their own trademarks, all adding "Women's" as the first word. Officially, "Men's" is the first word in the trademarks for NCAA sports that have both men's and women's championships, but "Men's" is usually omitted in popular usage, and the NCAA is only as of 2021 starting to be consistent with the use of "Men's".
    • Also in relation to the NCAA's championship tournaments, the terms Sweet Sixteen and Elite Eight are likewise trademarked in the United States, but not solely by the NCAA. Elite Eight® was once jointly owned by the NCAA and the Illinois High School Association; the NCAA has sole ownership, although the IHSA retains the right to use the term for high school events. Sweet Sixteen® is owned by the Kentucky High School Athletic Association for its championships, and it licenses the term to the NCAA. Officially neither term can be used for any tournament or competition in the United States not operated by the NCAA, IHSA, or KHSAA. Unofficially, sports fans still make generic use of both terms, though not nearly to the extent that they do with Final Four.
    • Later on, the NCAA became insistent in calling its players "student-athletes", regardless of what a consistent stream of recruiting violations and bankrupt ex-pros might imply.
    • "March Madness®," the nickname for the NCAA Division I men's national tournament, is a trademark owned by the NCAA and licensed to CBS and WarnerMedia (part of AT&T and owner of the Turner networks), which divide TV coverage of the games, and Westwood One, which holds the national radio contract.note  To demonstrate how some didn't dare screw around, one of CBS Sports' competitors, Fox Sports, identified this tournament at one time as "Hoops Hysteria" on its website.
  • The World Series® is a trademark of Major League Baseball, and it defends it strongly, though with slightly less publicity than the NFL. It has licensed the term to the operators of other championship events that add their own descriptors to the trademark, such as the World Series of Poker®, Little League Baseball (the Little League World Series®, and yes, Little League® is also a trademark), and the NCAA (the Men's College World Series® and Women's College World Series®, respectively the championship events in baseball and softball).

    Toys and Video Game Products 
  • LEGO would like to remind you that "LEGO" must always be capitalized and works only as an adjective for their products, e.g. "LEGO bricks", "LEGO pieces", etc. An individual block is not "a Lego". The tiny LEGO people are called minifigures or minifigs.
    • This seems to be more of an American thing that doesn't get used so much in the UK. However, in Germany it's common to call them Legos (though the probably company-approved Legosteine - LEGO bricks - is in use as well)
  • Video game companies deal with this trope all the time, as the most popular system often becomes a synonym for video gaming itself. It's still common to hear people say that they are or "playing Nintendo" even though Nintendo obviously has more than one system.
    • Ad copy guidelines dictate that the full name of the PS3 is "PlayStation®3 computer entertainment system" and the Xbox 360 is "Xbox 360® video game and entertainment system from Microsoft". It leads to some unwieldy marketing sentences.
    • This even seeps into the games themselves sometimes. In Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots and the documentary extras for the Uncharted series; when somebody says "PlayStation 3" the subtitles always say "PlayStation 3 system".
    • In Nintendo Direct and other official videos, Nintendo always refers to its individual games as "the (game title) game" instead of just "(game title)".
  • Transformers brand action figures from Hasbro don't transform; they convert. There is an official edict from Hasbro regarding printed materials; toy packaging, advertising materials, etc. Transformers-brand action figures from Hasbro "convert" or "morph" or "change" between forms. This is because, if converting from one form to another was all it took to be a "transformer," then the term would become meaningless and applicable to any old space fantasy robot that can change between multiple configurations, making trying to keep the Transformers name their own legally problematic. The last thing Hasbro (and fans too, actually) wants is brand x TRANSFORMER robots to be something anyone can make and market. It has happened before.
    • Though less obvious, modern media also tends to avoid use of "transform" as a verb. This is a bit awkward when one of Optimus's main catchphrases is "Transform and roll out!", which tends to get shortened to just "Roll out!" The Transformers: Exodus novel infamously used "proto-forming" and "alt-forming" (depending on the direction), which is even more clumsy when "protoform" is already an existing in-universe term with a very different meaning. Then there was the Magic: The Gathering Universes Beyond crossover with the "Brother's War" set, which uses "convert" in mechanics text even though the game mechanic used to represent that process - flipping a double-sided card from one side to the other - had been known as "transform" for over a decade before the set released.
  • For a while, Americans would generally refer to any cheat device as a GameShark, unless they specifically meant a Game Genie. Later, that vanished, with AR (for Action Replay) being the new generic term. GameShark has roots in the more general use of the term "shark" to refer to cheaters (card shark, etc), but AR was pure genericization.
  • Intel's latest campaign is particularly egregious: Intel employees are talking about "Intel [X]" products.
  • UK Game Shows will ALWAYS refer to the PS3 or Xbox 360 they're offering as a prize as "a games console" even though nobody in the UK will ever use that term. Especially odd given that it's Product Placement and you'd expect them to spell out the name of the product.
    • The BBC aren't allowed to advertise, so they have to avoid brand names wherever possible. Other channels will only advertise when they're specifically being paid to do so — if they set up the competition themselves rather than being given the prize by the makers as a marketing exercise, it won't be named. Something of an internal Running Gag is quickly parroting the Our Lawyers Advised This Trope addendum phrase "Other brands are available!" if a presenter accidentally mentions a specific brand.
    • Overt product placement was technically illegal on British-made TV in general until Ofcom (the regulatory body) relaxed the rules somewhat in 2011, meaning even if it was a paid-for plug, naming the product directly could land the program-makers in trouble.
  • At least a few years ago, every single fashion doll was a Barbie doll, regardless of whether or not it was made by Mattel. Just so long as it could wear the same clothes as a Barbie, it was a Barbie.
  • The Sony PlayStation would often be referred to as the "PlayStation Game Console" in commercials for their games.
  • This happens with the Pokémon series in almost any official promotional materials, no matter how cumbersome it can get. It is particularly egregious for game pairs that have a shared prefix, for example, "Pokémon Ultra Sun and Pokémon Ultra Moon".
    • An especially ludicrous example is the Downloadable Content for Pokémon Sword and Shield, officially the "Pokémon Sword Expansion Pass and Pokémon Shield Expansion Pass". (Though in this case, it also helps emphasize that, if you have both versions, buying the DLC for one version will not get you the equivalent DLC for the other one.)
    • This also applies to the anime as well, where it's always written out as the full title of that particular season, such as "Pokémon: Black and White: Adventures in Unova and Beyond", and later on, it also became mandatory to specify that the anime is "Pokémon: The Series", which is also worked into season titles, leading to such cases as "Pokémon: The Series: Sun and Moon: Ultra Legends".
    • The manual for Pokémon Red and Blue had an illustrated list of Pokémon near the end. Every single Pokémon name was immediately followed by a '™' symbol.
  • Bravely Default has a subtitle (Flying Fairy in Japanese, Where the Fairy Flies overseas) that serves no purpose but to enable an Evolving Title Screen at a certain plot point (Lying Airy and Airy Lies, respectively). Bravely Second also has such a subtitle, End Layer, that serves the exact same purpose (Send Player); however, for reasons unclear, the subtitle is consistently included in all official mentions, despite there being absolutely no reason why anyone would mistake "Bravely Second" as referring to something else (including the Non-Linear Sequel released after it, which is known as Bravely Default II).
  • Milk caps are often called Pogs, which is a brand name owned by the World Pog Federation.
  • Miis were officially pluralised as such during the Wii era; since then, however, they have been pluralised as "Mii characters". Additionally, possessive-wise, Nintendo (and its affiliates) use "Mii character's" instead of "Mii's".

    Other Products 
  • Federal Express changed its name to FedEx, and even stated in the commercial that announced the change that it was because "that's what you call us anyway".
    • It's not quite a branding issue, but because US law prohibits anyone from competing with the US Postal Service to provide mail delivery if you ask if FedEx and UPS will "Mail" something they would say that they don't "Mail", but you can "Ship" your package.
  • The word "cellophane" — or more precisely, the name "Du Pont Cellophane" — was also a trade name. Genericized trademarks are the reason why every few years the Xerox Corporation will come out with ads reminding us that "There Are Two Rs in Xerox" (the second being, of course, the ®).
  • Eastman Kodak's efforts in the early part of the 20th century to popularize its product name, with such slogans as "Take a Kodak with you", were very nearly too successful: by the 1920s people were using "kodak", with no capital, as a synonym for "snapshot". (A character in Sinclair Lewis's 1937 novel It Can't Happen Here puts "a kodak album" in her suitcase.) The company had to move swiftly, with the advertising slogan "If it isn't an Eastman, it isn't a Kodak!" They were still sensible about it when Paul Simon released "Kodachrome" in 1973; record labels and album covers had to point out that "Kodachrome® is a registered trademark for colored film." (They went on to use it as a jingle a few years later.) "Kodak" has also been used to refer to the camera itself in such places as Gilbert and Sullivan's Utopia, Limited (in 1893!) and Pitbull's song "Give Me Everything", and is still used in Quebec as a colloquial term for a photo camera.
  • The National Association of REALTORS® takes pains to inform people that the term "Realtor" is trademarked in the United States and should only be used for real estate agents who belong to that organization. There's a good reason for this, as membership into their organization is separate from simply obtaining a license to practice real estate. NAR has its own code of ethics and various other standards they hold their members up to, as such, they don't want their trademark to be potentially associated with agents who aren't up to their standards. They also fine any REALTOR® who uses the trademark without putting it in all caps and adding that registered symbol at the end in their materials. Pronouncing the word with three syllables as opposed to two (IE: Real-A-Tor as opposed to Real-Tor) is also a personal pet peeve of theirs. They seem to be fighting a losing battle against Brand Name Takeover, however, especially in light of the fact that "realtor" is the generic English term for someone who handles realty, and "real estate agent" is hard to fit on a business card.
    • Their radio ad suffers from a bit of grammar trouble that may lead to some confusion, saying "Only Realtors are members of The National Association of Realtors." What they meant was "Only members of The National Association of Realtors can call themselves Realtors." What they said was, "No one in The National Association of Realtors is not a realtor."
  • People in the US typically refer to plastic wrap/cling film as "Saran wrap", even when the person they're talking to refers to it in the proper generic.
    • Similarly, in Australia, many people refer to it as "Glad wrap".
    • But not in the UK, where it's generally known by the generic term "cling film".
  • Stun guns are almost always called "Tasers", even though Taser is a brand of stun gun produced by Taser International. Justified in that Taser is one of the only stun guns manufactured.
  • The New York City Subway has trademarked some, but not all of its lettered train services and, of course, all of the circular route bullets seen on signs and merchandise. This has the effect of preventing other transit agencies from labeling their services in a similar manner so, for example, you will only ever ride an F Train Brand Train in New York City. (In fairness to the MTA, the system it uses is tightly linked to the unique structure of the Subway—an amalgam of 3 different networks using two different building standards and running their networks through a small set of tunnels in Manhattan.)
  • Sellotape in the UK and Scotch tape in North America, to the point where the BBC have finally ruled that Blue Peter presenters no longer have to call the former "sticky tape" on-air.
    • In Germany it's Tesafilm.
    • In Brazil? Durex (which by being 3M's brand, is still Scotch tape in a way).
  • What do you call that folding pocket knife with the different blades and tools and the tiny tweezers and the plastic toothpick that always gets lost? A Swiss Army knife? Only if it's made by Victorinox or Wenger, the two companies that actually have a contract to sell folding pocket knives to the Swiss Army. Their Swiss Army of Lawyers has been known to go after any other company selling similar knives by that name. Swiss style pocket knives are OK though.
  • Many people refer to those big metal garbage bins you see out back of supermarkets, fast food restaurants, and the like as "dumpsters"; thing is, though, that was originally a trademarked name, dating back to about 1936. Yeah, we've been calling 'em that for a while...
  • Tarmac, that black stuff on the surface of runways, helipads, and the like, is actually a trademarked term.
  • A series of Radio Shack promo comics from the 1980s known as Tandy Computer Whiz Kids showed everyone exclusively referring to the then-current Radio Shack products they used by their full (and often very long) names in even the most casual of conversations with very few exceptions:
    "While you're running, I'll be on duty at our school's health and physical fitness booth...wearing my TRC-500 Headset Walkie-Talkie!"
    "Great! We can keep in touch! I'll let you know how the race is going! These TRC-500 Headset Walkie Talkies are super for running, jogging, or working at the booth like you'll be doing!"
  • In Japanese, staplers are called hotchikisu, from Hotchkiss, a long-defunct American office supply company.