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Normal people, when talking about a product, don't specify the brand unless they need to. People in commercials, however, are not normal. When they talk about the product that's being sold, they'll give the specific, trademarked name every time; not only that, but it will be the full version, without even the abbreviations that people actually use when they do need to talk about brand.

The trope name is based off 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 because the higher-ups wanted to prevent Band-Aid from becoming a generic word, they added the "Brand", momentarily throwing off the rhythm of the Jingle. They failed, of course, much like the makers of Scotch Tape (brand) adhesive tape.

Likewise, talking like this on TV and radio programs inevitably indicates a 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 refer to specific brands. 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. You'll also notice that many of these products shun being called the generic product they're associated with: Miracle Whip isn't mayo [1], Dove isn't soap, Polaner All-Fruit isn't jelly...

For similar brand-name awkwardness, see Disney Owns This Trope and Trope Co Trope of the Week. Contrast Tradesnark, where the awkwardness is pointed out and played for humor.

Examples of Stuck on Band-Aid Brand include:

Fictional Examples

Films -- Live-Action

  • One particularly jarring example in the movie Cabin Fever; on their way to the title cabin, James DeBello's character says he left his "Mott's apple juice" back at the general store. Much like the cowbell in Blue Oyster Cult's "Don't Fear The Reaper", once you notice it, you can't un-notice it.

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.

Western Animation


 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.
  • Parodied in Invader Zim. You remember how your elementary school fundraiser had those cheesy prizes for selling x products? Well, in Zim's one prize is apparently a box of adhesive medical strips. It's not only dubbed over in an instructional video; it's dubbed over in an actual conversation.
  • Lampshaded in The Simpsons, episode "A Tale of Two Springfields", in which Bart and friends repeatedly refer to a Frisbee (still a registered trademark of Wham-O) as a "novelty flying disc."
    • Another time 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).
    • SpongeBob SquarePants has played with a "small plastic disk that you throw". Looking for a less unwieldy name, they come up with a "small plastic disk that you toss".

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 toss the Aperture Science Thing We Don't Know What It Does into the Aperture Science Emergency Intelligence Incinerator?


Real-Life Examples

Clothing Products

  • Americans (and Britons) seem to be under the impression that Speedo is the name of 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. We call the items "bathers", "undies" or "Budgie smugglers". "Budgie Smuggler" is the dirtier one, 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.

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 now use "photochopped" or "photoshooped". (Uh-uh. You can't name it confusingly similar.)
    • Finally all the way down to "shopped", because who has time to type 3 syllables.
    • 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.)
  • See also "Googling", meaning "Look up on a search engine, Google or not."
    • Honestly, though, who the hell uses anything but Google® Brand Search Engine?
    • Parodied savagely by Google during 2010 April Fools.
      • Parodying themselves as well, as older Google blog posts also had this lecture.
    • 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.
    • "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).
      • On the new Hawaii-50, they did, in fact, "bing" something. On a cell phone.
  • 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 Macintoshes. 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 now 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 IB Ms 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 80s (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".
        • Besides, the current Mac is effectively a PC with some architecture changes; that 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. Xerox is but only one company that makes photocopiers. Every few years, Xerox Corp. runs campaigns to clarify that Xerox is not a verb.

Food 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".
    • 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. This troper cannot recall hearing the house name even mentioned in their cereal commercials, though in the 1960s they used to brand them as "Big G".
      • Many commercials say "General Mills cereal" in their commercial at least once, but refer to the products themselves as merely "Cheerios" or so.
  • 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 Nestlé renamed it as essentially a contraction of "Nestlé Quik". Nowadays the commercials refer to it as "Nestlé NesQuik".
    • Apparently nobody mentioned that "NesQuik" sounds like something you get from Miniplenty. Or else they didn't know that quasi-Orwellian branding is double-plus-ungood.
  • 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.
  • 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. In 1941, however, the company finally relented and came out with a series of advertisements asserting that "Coke means Coca-Cola". Then The Eighties happened, and the word got away from them a little...
    • This is due to the fact that "coke" is a generic term for soda/soda pop/pop/tonic/whatever in some areas of the U.S. (including Atlanta, home of the Coca-Cola Company). It comes off as a bit strange everywhere else, though.
    • IN the UK "Diet Coke" is now the 'official' brand.
    • Related: The original 1971 "I'd Like To Teach The World To Sing" commercial for Coke is arguably one of the greatest ads of all time. In 1990, they did a remake, featuring the original singers and their kids. Of course, the brand name in 1990 was "Coca-Cola Classic", so the singers are dutifully singing "Coca-Cola Classic" as often as possible . . .
  • Due to the semi-common practice of people calling any soda a "Coke", Pepsi ran ads featuring Bernie Mac (RIP) 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.
    • An unnecessary step for Pepsi Co, since some people may use "Coke" to refer to any sort of carbonated soft drink, but restaurants almost never will.
    • 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.
  • 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). In recent years, however, they've begun re-emphasizing the full name.
    • 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).
    • Except now they've stopped again, and this time it really IS because they don't like the "fried" part- they're trying to emphasize their new grilled menu. Y'know, the stuff you can easily make at home...
  • 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.

Health & 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.
    • In Britain, "plaster" (Band-Aid) is used. However, "plaster" isn't a brand name in itself (the closest to "plaster" is the brand Elastoplast).
  • Make sure you use Bayer Aspirin if you're about to have a heart attack, it'll save your life. Presumably if you can only find other aspirin, it sucks to be you.
    • This only applies in the US, UK, and France, where Bayer lost the trademark on "Aspirin" after World War I. In the rest of the world the generic name is "acetylsalicylic acid".
      • Or, in Poland, "*pirin". There's "Polopirin", "Etopirin", "Coffepirin" (with caffeine) and "Calcipirin" (with Calcium, apparently for cold).
      • 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.
  • 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, especially in urban communities, of calling all diapers "Pampers".

Mass Media

  • DC Comics and Marvel Comics famously hold a joint trademark on the terms "Super Hero" and "SUPER HEROES"[2], so that in practice no other facilities are allowed to use the term to advertise (or similarly title 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.


  • If you like association football (soccer in the US), please be reminded that there isn't a world championship. You have to call it 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.
  • 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 semi-finals of the NCAA's own postseason championship tournaments.
    • 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® is jointly owned by the NCAA and the Illinois High School Association. 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 other tournament or competition in the United States. Unofficially, sports fans still make generic use of both terms, though not nearly to the extent that they do with Final Four.

Toys & 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." An individual block is not "a Lego." The tiny LEGO people are called minifig.
    • 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 (mostly non-gamers who don't know anything about video games and systems) to say that they are "playing Atari" or "playing Nintendo" even though these companies obviously have more than one system.
    • In Australia, the non-hardcore gamers among us don't play with our "Play Station/ -2/ -3" or "Wii/GCN/N64/SNES/Game Boy/NES". We play with our "Sony" or "Nintendo". Slowly dying out as gaming becomes more ubiquitous, however.
    • Ad copy guidelines dictate that the full name of the PlayStation 3 is "Play Station®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.
    • Companies also get rather specific when it comes to the names of their individual components. You don't use a controller with a PlayStation console, you use a DualShock or a SixAxis; and it's not just a memory card, it's a Memory Card (8MB) (for Play Station®2).
    • That said, one exception - Nintendo decided to just call the analog attachment to the Wii Remote "the Nunchuk" because most gamers used that phrase for it well before the system's release. The Videogame Style Guide insists that this term should not be used, contradicting both common usage and Nintendo's own style guide.
      • Not Nintendo Wii. Just Wii.
  • Transformers brand action figures from Hasbro don't transform; they convert. Seriously. 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. Why, if the mere act of converting from one form to another was all it took to be a "transformer," then by gum, the term would become meaningless and applicable to any old space fantasy robot that can change between multiple configurations!
  • For a while, Americans would generally refer to any cheat device as a Game Shark, 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 PlayStation 3 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.
    • Also 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 Play Station would often be referred to as the "Play Station Game Console" in commercials for their games.

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".
    • If asked if a customer can "Mail" a package, FedEx and UPS will say that they don't "Mail", but you can "Ship" your package. You can only send "Mail" through the United States Postal Service.
      • Not really a branding issue; US law prohibits anyone from competing with the Postal Service to provide mail delivery, because otherwise the USPS would be out of business. FedEx and UPS have to pretend to be in the totally different business of express parcel delivery.
  • 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!"
    • 1920s? There's at least one usage of "Kodak" in this context (albeit with the capital) from 1893, in Gilbert and Sullivan's Utopia Limited. Granted, it may just be to fit the meter of the song, but still.
    • And, of course, when Paul Simon wrote and recorded the song "Kodachrome" in 1975, the record labels and album covers were careful to point out that "Kodachrome® is a registered trademark for colored film."
    • The song "Give Me Everything" has the lines "Me not working hard?/ Yeah, right! Picture that with a Kodak/ Or, better yet, go to Times Square/ Take a picture of me with a Kodak."
  • 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. 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 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 sometimes called "tasers", particularly in video games, even though Taser is a brand and a specific type of stun gun.
  1. though by federal guidelines, it truly isn't
  2. note the space and capitalization