Does it matter if a Brand Name is used as a Verb?

Using Brand Names as a Verb with some Product Commentary

Did you Google it? Are we in such a hurry that we have to say, “Did you Google it?” instead of saying, “I’ll search for it on Google.” Come to think of it, could you fathom using Bing, another common search engine, as a verb? Would it work, if you said, “I’ll Bing for an answer?”


I need to Xerox that letter or form. This is one of the most common examples in the work setting. Are you sure it’s not photocopy that letter or form? How would Kyocera or Sharp feels if corporate or business people only use Xerox as a verb when it comes to photocopying? Are you being exclusionary?


Have you ever heard:  Are you going to Hoover the living room rug? This is uncommon in the States but you may still hear that in England.  Is Hoover vacuum cleaners the one and only vacuum cleaner when it comes to the vacuum cleaner market? It’s a pretty competitive market so I suspect there’s plenty to choose from. Should you not vacuum the living room rug? Better yet, if you insist on being more direct and avoid all euphemisms, say, “suck up all the dust and dirt”.


I’ll Facebook you or Facebook it (when talking about sending a note or photo through Facebook). When’s the last time you heard someone say I’ll send that to you via Facebook?


I’m LinkedIn with you already. Instead of saying, “We’re already connected via LinkedIn.” Either way may suffice.


In a financial services commercial advertising Vanguard, I’ve heard Are you Vanguarding your future? That almost sounds good – perhaps because ‘guarding’ is part of the financial services company’s name.


Do you need to Midas your brakes? How would you feel if you had no choice but to take your car to Midas to fix your brakes? Would the roads be more secure? Yikes…


Swiffer the floor or Windex the windows are two cleaning products used as verbs to do some housecleaning. There’s nothing wrong with Windex but there are a multitude of more inexpensive products that are equally effective. 


Shout out the stains is a product in which I’m very familiar as I grew up in Racine, WI (where S.C. Johnson is headquartered). Unfortunately it doesn’t work that well. It sounds good in theory but my experience over many years indicates mediocre results from Shout. Pardon the pun but when I really need Shout to work and it doesn’t, it just makes me want to scream!


Recently, I heard Tide the clothes although using Tide this way is much the exception. 


In the housecleaning sphere, you may from time to time hear Mr. Clean the showers or bathroom. Mr. Clean has such as strong brand name that when using this, there’s no question on the result.


What about Nice N Easy your hair? I’ve never used this product but it’s used by many women over the age of 40 who want to save money and color their own hair. Someone in the L’Oreal Marketing department came up with such a brilliant and innocent sounding term for such an unpleasant task of using chemicals to get your hair “just the right color” for about 6 weeks or so…Is it Nice N Easy on the environment?


Although I’ve yet to hear, what about, I need to Toro my lawn? Even though I vacuum my rugs and carpeting, could this principle to my lawn? In the fall, when the grass no longer needs to be mowed, I use my power mower, bag and powerful suction system to clean-up the yard. For all intense purposes, I’m vacuuming the lawn!


People with busy lives and cable typically say I’ll need to DVR that show or I’ll just TIVO it. In my mind, using this brand as a verb is much more common and sounds fine.  It might sound awkward to say, “I’ll need to use the DVR system to record that program.” That’s probably overkill.