Q: ...Today at noon (July 29) the News 8 anchor introduced Joe Trahan with "Joe Trahan just filed this report via Flip Video Cam". That's a specific product name...

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Posted on August 21, 2009 at 3:27 PM

Updated Monday, Oct 19 at 5:55 PM

Q: Today at noon (July 29) the News 8 anchor introduced Joe Trahan with "Joe Trahan just filed this report via Flip Video Cam". That's a specific product name. Do any reporters on any channel or network ever open a location video report by naming SONY or other ENG camera by name? Joe then says, ?"if you're wondered why the video looks like this" it's because I'm using a Flip cam for Dallas Cowboys training camp quick updates". That's plug number two. My jaded view from too many years in advertising photography left me with the impression that he'd mention the camera by name again in future reports. Isn't this and future plugs a violation of FCC sponsorship identification rules? I'm not suggesting any free cameras for plugs quid pro quo from Cisco in this because if that were the case Cisco's name would surely have been mentioned in the trailer, which it wasn't. I'm a technologist and support the use of Flip and other mobile video including the new I Phone. I think it's a great way to create a much larger news gathering capability and It's the way of the future. ?But I'm also a former Marine Vietnam combat correspondent and cameraman who is vigilant about commercial plugs in any reporting. That is a slippery slope. In full disclosure I do not now, nor have I ever, worked for Apple but I do own and Apple IT business. Please let me know if your news team intends on continuing plugging the Flip product by name. Thank you for your time. Phillip

A: Interesting observation. When a brand name transcends to become the product name - that's an interesting phenomenon.? Joe Trahan calling his video camera a Flip camera is probably a good example (last week on GMT it was referred to as a "Flicker" camera). Other examples would include (especially in the South) generically saying Coke instead of soft drink or a vacuum cleaner as a Hoover. We've heard the term "genericized trademark," or when name of a specific brand has been positioned as a leader so much that it becomes the name of the product. Tissues become Kleenex, spas are called Jacuzzis, RVs may be known as Winebagos and perhaps the most common example of all, a paper copy has been referred to as a Xerox. As for an intentional plug, that was not his intent - he was simply trying to describe the little device he was using to record such that viewers would understand. Thank you for sharing the observation, and taking the time to write.

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