Generic Products


Productus Genericus

One of the touches that made the Supernatural sitcom parody (see below) better and sharper than most was the brief shot of the products inside the refrigerator: it was all generic products, with a ketchup bottle marked “Tomato Ketchup” and so on. Sitcoms are not the only shows that use generic products instead of real ones, but it seems like the most obvious examples are shows like The Big Bang Theory where characters drink from cans marked “Cola,” or Disney Channel type shows like Hannah Montana, where nobody is ever allowed to use anything real, play a real song, or basically pay for anything. (One of the great educational aspects of TV is what it teaches us about trademark law; the prop people on these shows know just how much they have to change a logo before they’re no longer infringing on a company’s trademark.) Other shows either try to have real products, or just shoot and light everything in such a way that labels are not clearly visible.