Writing Tip: What about Coke? Using Brand Names
I am a somewhat member of an online authors group of sorts and recently a discussion about using brand names came up. I read a few of the comments, but to be honest a lot of them were just a bit . . . well I’ll be honest, self important blowhards just wanting to be disagreeable or agreeing but in essay form.
Here are my thoughts in brief:
- It is LEGAL to use brand names in your works. No problems there. Go right ahead and do it.
- There are brand names that are what I call standard names for things now. Coke? Here in the South if you ask someone if they want a Coke it’s like asking them if they want a soda. It’s not necessarily being used as a brand name but a type name. A response might be, “Yeah, get me a Dr. Pepper.” Think the same thing with Kleenex and tissue. You don’t care if it’s a Kleenex as long as you get a tissue.
- Use brand names when they make sense, especially to the character. I had a character in an action/thriller that smoked a particular kind of cigarette from a specific country. That was relevant to the character and was part of evidence. When the main character went to another country and rented a car I did research as to what kind of cars were there to rent. But don’t go overboard. If you can say the man rented a compact car that had his knees around his chin, do so. But if the character is flashy and seems into material things then you may specify a very expensive sports car. But always have it be relevant.
Use brand names if they are relevant and it’s legal to do so. End of story.
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