Apple’s ‘iPad’ is the only tablet people know – Yahoo! News
NEW YORK AP — Apple is on the verge of doing what few others have: change the English language.When you have a boo-boo, you reach for a Band-Aid not a bandage. When you need to blow your nose, you ask for Kleenex not tissue. If you decide to look up something online, you Google instead of search for it. And if you want to buy a tablet computer, there’s a good chance there’s only one name you’ll remember.
“For the vast majority, the idea of a tablet is really captured by the idea of an iPad,'” says Josh Davis, a manager at Abt Electronics in Chicago. “They gave birth to the whole category and brought it to life.”
Companies trip over themselves to make their brands household names. But only a few brands become so engrained in the lexicon that they’re synonymous with the products themselves. This so-called “genericization” can be both good and bad for companies like Apple, which must balance their desire for brand recognition with their disdain for brand deterioration.
It’s one of the biggest contradictions in business. Companies spend millions to create a brand. Then, they spend millions more on marketing that can have the unintended consequence of making those names so popular that they become shorthand for similar products. It’s like if people start calling station wagons Bentleys. It can diminish a brand’s reputation.
“There’s tension between legal departments concerned about ‘genericide’ and marketing departments concerned about sales,” says Michael Atkins, a Seattle trademark attorney. “Marketing people want the brand name as widespread as possible and trademark lawyers worry … the brand will lose all trademark significance.”
It doesn’t happen often. In fact, it’s estimated that fewer than 5 percent of U.S. brand names become generic. Those that do typically are inventions or products that improve on what’s already on the market. The brand names then become so popular that they eclipse rivals in sales, market share and in the minds’ of consumers. And then they spread through the English language like the common cold in a small office.
“There’s nothing that can be done to prevent it once it starts happening,” says Michael Weiss, professor of linguistics at Cornell University. “There’s no controlling the growth of language.”
Strange Random Brand Quote:
“I am irresistible, I say, as I put on my designer fragrance. I am a merchant banker, I say, as I climb out of my BMW. I am a juvenile lout, I say, as I pour an extra strong lager, I am handsome, I say, as I put on my Levi jeans” – John Kay
- Apple’s Trademark Problem In China Is Self-Inflicted – Forbes (forbes.com)
- Women and tablets are BFFs, poll shows (news.cnet.com)
- How Many iPads Has Apple Sold So Far? (celebritynetworth.com)
- 88% of tablet owners use their iPads while watching TV (newmediaandmarketing.com)
- Apple’s ‘iPad’ is the only tablet people know (sfgate.com)
- Brand names: Will ‘iPad’ become generic for tablet? (usatoday.com)