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May 23, 2007

Formica is Now a New Zealand Brand Name

formica.jpgFascinating news that Formica Corporation has been sold to a New Zealand company. Formica has joined Xerox and Dumpster in the popular lexicon as a genericized brand name.

Like most people, I was under the impression that Formica was a type of laminated plastic, that lost its status as a trademarkable brand name.

I was interested to see that Cerberus was part of the sale of this legendary and quintessentially American brand name, which has been defined by Webster’s New World Dictionary as “a trademark for a laminated, heat-resistant thermosetting plastic used for table and sink tops.''

formica_counter.jpgFormica has been around since 1913 when a young engineer created it for use as electrical insulation, and the name comes from the fact that the stuff can be used instead of mica, literally “for mica.”

Formica's product nomenclature includes VirrVarr, Atomic Orange and Aqua Boomerang. These are names left over from the fifties and I am interested to see what happens what New Zealanders and neighboring Australians make of them. And I wonder how “VirrVarr” will translate overseas.

I’m not sure we should be selling anything with the word Atomic, and Atomic Orange seems like a fairly agressive product name. But that would depend on the category and target market.

How about an Atomic Orange energy drink?

Of course the word boomerang may ring false with some Australians—or else it may be taken as a tribute to where boomerangs come from.

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Posted by William Lozito at May 23, 2007 8:25 AM
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