This Pepsi Max commercial has almost nothing to do with its soda products, but if its purpose is to get people to watch, it succeeded. London-based creative agency Harriman Steel constructed this Pepsi Max promotional stunt to celebrate the New Year. They did that not with the usual New Year’s fireworks but with an explosion of ping-pong balls and mousetraps. As a symbolic gesture, they set up 2014 mousetraps and 2015 ping-pong balls, using one to trigger a chain reaction of snapping traps and ricocheting balls. One ping-pong went like a hole-in-one down the center of the Pepsi logo, and set off a festive confetti-like rain of balls in Pepsi’s signature colors of blue, red and white. Except for one Pepsi Max can on a shelf in the “background,” no product was shown. But the spot was fun to watch and there was no doubt that it came from Pepsi.
How familiar are you with brand and generic names? Probably less than you realize. Some revolutionary trademarked products have achieved such market dominance that their name has become synonymous with an entire category of product or service. Particularly for breakthrough products, consumers spontaneously use the pioneer brand name generically, even when referring to later entrants in the field. Occasionally companies lose their proprietary rights to a trademark if they let competitors use the name as a common “descriptor” of a category of products and not linked to any one brand. At that point, the word can no longer be registered, a phenomenon known as “genericide.” In other instances, the trademark owner decides not to renew registration and simply lets the trade name expire.
This quiz challenges you to identify whether the name is: 1) trademarked (registered to a specific company), 2) generic (never trademarked), 3) genericized (once trademarked but now a common noun) or 4) former TM (trademark allowed to expire). Answers after the jump.