Welcome to another edition of Genericide Watch, where we consider brands on the edge, working hard to maintain brand status and exclusive rights, while trying to avoid trademark genericide.
The primary meaning to the relevant public decides genericness, so trademark owners will try to influence how consumers understand the word, to maintain at least 51% brand meaning.
As we’ve written before, one of the ways to spot a brand on the edge is to find the word “brand” on product packaging, usually with the claimed owner’s preferred generic name for the goods.
That is one way of telling or reminding consumers it’s a brand name, but saying so, doesn’t necessarily make it so, especially when the “preferred” name is a mouthful or unnatural.
Popsicle is one of those on a mission to prevent its trademark rights from melting away. Having said that, even if Popsicle dips below 50% brand meaning, the visual identity is still ownable:
The word was coined almost a century ago, so Unilever is asking the folks to not use it as a noun, instead as an adjective modifying the noun: ice pop. So, will the folks follow the instructions?
By the way, love this vintage typeface for Popsicle, which used to be the subject of registration:
Ironically, it calls to mind a similar typeface, questioning whether Mission Popsicle, is eh, possible:
Anything is possible, but do uses of visual puns like this help (or hurt) to melt Popsicle as a brand?