Since the origin of trademark use guidelines, there has been immutable, black and white legal direction against using brand names (and the trademarks that protect them), as nouns or verbs. If you’ve seen more flexible rules, please share.
Yet, marketers have recognized the power verbs have over nouns and adjectives.
Highlighting the legal need for flexibility and creativity in support of discerning marketers, and advocating for the analysis of realistic risks while trying to manage the risk of genericide, I’ve written about brandverbing for more than a decade.
Simple do’s and don’ts may have obtained unchallenged obedience in the past, but as I’ve documented here with many real brandverbing examples, the trend to at least flirt with brandverbing doesn’t appear on the decline, enter Rolo candy:
Rolo’s television commercial called, “Rolling Out of Control,” is described like this:
“A man out hiking gets suddenly struck by a frisbee. The shock sends him rolling out of control down a steep long slope. All the rolling reminds him of the Rolos he has tucked in his shirt pocket. The rich chocolate candy and creamy caramel are enough for him to enjoy his roll down the hill.”
It features a tagline (“That’s How You Rolo“) that is presently unregistered (contrary to this National Law Review direction), but what are the odds the ad begins with a flying Frisbee, a toy trademark actually on the Genericide Watch.
Ironically, another brandverb hit my screen today; I’ve decided to Aleve it for later:
So, what brands/trademarks have you spotted being used as verbs? Concerned?