Colloquial language or genericide?

Picture of Taylor Alden

Taylor Alden

Have you ever watched an American sitcom and heard them refer to a Xerox machine and thought, hang on, that’s a photocopier?! It’s not just a differentiation between American English and British English; it comes down to brand names becoming products, or, in other words, generic trademarks.

And we have them in the UK too! Although the words we use are sometimes different to the American ones, it is still the same concept. Think “Hoover”, “Frisbee”,  “Jacuzzi”, “Escalator”, “Yo-Yo”, “Google”, “Rollerblade”, “Bubble Wrap”, the list goes on.

The big question now is, are these brands facing “genericide”? With the names being used so colloquially, other brands are attaching the powerful name to their own products and so the uniqueness of owning an actual Hoover or Jacuzzi becomes a little mute.

So, during a debate in the office recently about whether we are “vacuuming” or “hoovering” our homes and what it means to use generic trademarks in day-to-day life, we decided it’s best to stick with the general product names and steer away from the trademarks.