In these austere times I’m sure we all find ourselves leaning away from brands a little bit and towards supermarket own label foods. One thing I’m eating at the moment is ASDA ‘Wheat Bisks’ but seeing the box something struck me: the name doesn’t actually mean anything officially.
Look up ‘bisk’ inthe dictionary and all you find is that it is an alternative spelling for ‘bisque’. It is very obviously meant to sound like Weetabix, which is a protected brand name, and everyone knows that it what they mean. I’m a little bit surprised it is allowed to be honest. I’m sure that somebody selling personal organisers called Filer-fax would get some sort of court order against them. A business calling itself Olympix or Olympick in London at the moment would probably get stormed by the SAS. Maybe the difference between an ‘icks’ sound and an ‘isk’ sound is enough?
It all makes you realise how clever, or lucky, the originators of Weetabix were when they named their product, because it means nothing therefore nobody else can really use it – they defined not only the brand name but the product. Other brnads were not so lucky. Coca Cola was named so that any number or other products could call themselves a cola. Kellogs started with Corn Flakes – something so generic that anybody else can call their product corn flakes. If you say to yourself “I fancy a bowl of corn flakes” you are not specifying a brand; say that you fancy a bowl of Weetabix though, and you are.
Even though I have the cheap ASDA equivalents in the cupboard I still think of them as Weetabix, which is why I’m a little surprised they (Weetabix’s owners) are not as protective of the name as companies like Bic and Portakabin legendarily are.
Maybe I think too much when I am shopping.