Stop ripping them off
Some name-brand products are so good and well-known that its name sticks in consumers’ brains, leading them to call even the product’s imitators by the original product’s name. For example: Do you say “adhesive bandage” or “Band-Aid”? “Cotton swab” or “Q-tip”? “Kleenex” or “tissue”? This phenomenon, known as genericide, has been a branding killer to several companies.
These brands’ popular products have been so ubiquitous in our lives that we don’t even think about the fact that we really aren’t using Post-Its when we pick up the CVS brand version. Sadly though, it’s nearly impossible to change an entire society’s lexicon; a fact that Velcro is quite… upset about. They made a music video to help us understand why they are so upset too.
Velcro, the easy to use fastener, was patented back in 1955 by a Swiss electrical engineer named George de Mestral. His invention is made up of a fabric strip with tiny hooks that could link up to another fabric strip with smaller loops. Once joined, it is very sturdy yet easy to pull apart.
The name “Velcro” is a portmanteau of the French words velours (“velvety fabric”) and crochet. Originally made of cotton, they are now made with nylon and polyester.
As convenient as it is, Velcro didn’t really catch on until 1959 when NASA started using it. Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin wore Velcro on their suits and more during their moon landing.
A little later, in the mid 60’s, it started becoming a popular material in the fashion industry.
It’s hard for almost anyone to go through life without encountering a “Velcro” product, so it should get the credit it deserves. The PR team at Velcro is stepping up their game in a big way to make it happen too. (I mean, have you even ever seen an advertisement for Velcro before? Probably not.)
So, what set the leaders at Velcro Companies off? They noticed that imitators are using the word “velcro” to describe their material when they should be using the term “hook and loop fasteners” or “touch fasteners,” as the name “Velcro” is trademarked.
Velcro’s patent lapsed about 40 years ago though, so they can’t sue. They did get a little creative though.
The lawyers at Velcro made a two minute music video and put it online so the world can see how pissed off they really are. Released on Sept. 25, it already had 400,000 views on YouTube.
Watch the Video
“This is called ‘hook and loop.’ This part’s a hook, this part’s a loop. You call it ‘velcro’, but were begging you: This is f***ing hook and loop!”
From the YouTube Page:
Our Velcro Brand Companies legal team decided to clear a few things up about using the VELCRO® trademark correctly – because they’re lawyers and that’s what they do. When you use “velcro” as a noun or a verb (e.g., velcro shoes), you diminish the importance of our brand and our lawyers lose their *insert fastening sound.* So please, do not say “velcro shoes” (or “velcro wallet” or “velcro gloves”) – we repeat “velcro” is not a noun or a verb. VELCRO® is our brand. #dontsayvelcro
Check out dozens more name brands that we use as generic terms over at Mental Floss, like Seeing Eye Dog, Rollerblades, and Styrofoam.
SHARE this with real Velcro users!