September 20, 2006
Product Names: A Reality Check
Which fictional products would you buy? The writers at the Adfreak blog like Dunder Mifflin paper because it was featured in “The Office”.
However, people who are interested in taking advantage of TV shows for cool product names that have an “inside” cachet ought to be careful: Fox already sued somebody for trying to sell Duff Beer, Homer Simpson’s favorite drink.
You can take a look at the pretty startling and congruently branded list of products from the Simpsons on Wikipedia, which also has a very nifty list of fictional company names which offer lovely fodder for a business hoping to use its company name to bridge the gap between reality and imagination.
In a slightly different vein, Boing Boing gives us a little lesson in Dr. Suess’s taxidermy: apparently when Dr. Seuss was not writing children’s books he was literally creating fictional animals and naming them: how would you like to check out the “Two Horned Drouberhannis, the “Andulovian Grackler,” and the “Semi-Normal Green-Lidded Fawn.”
On the other hand, according to Miss Snark, if you are writing fiction, you can indeed have your characters using real products in your novel or script so long as they are not portrayed in a negative light. Remember, however, if you are writing for the ages, dropping real product names dates your book or movie.
If that’s not confusing enough, you should also remember to think about the ramifications of associating the names of your fictional pitchmen, like the Maytag Repairman, with other ad campaigns.
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