I was catching up on my industry reading over the weekend and saw a full page ad in AdAge from the brand, requesting that people always use a (R) and "brand tissue" when referring to the Kleenex(R) brand tissue brand of brand tissue. Evidently, the ad is targeted to folks in our industry who may be using the trademark as part of their work. The problem is that if the name "Kleenex" becomes so synonymous with the product, then the brand risks losing their trademark. It really is a weird twist to marketing, and wholly unfair.
There are not a lot of examples in the world, but there are a few. Kleenex(R) brand tissue is a classic, but I'm sure the folks at Campbell's(R) brand soup worry about this to some extent. I know we spoke about it at great length on Tylenol(R) brand pain reliever. And of course the encroachment of private label knock-offs don't help us either ... something I cover in my book. It makes me crazy to see one "brand" copy the experience of another! Get your own! Of course, the more unique you can make your brand experience, then the harder it is for others to rip off.
It's just very interesting to see a brand make a direct appeal to other industry insiders, those of us who understand the issue quite well and now will be even that much more conscious in our use of trademarks.
I'm sure you can think of many more examples where this is an issue ... what's your experience? Jim.
President, Cohn & Wolfe North America
Author, The Experience Effect series