View Full Version : Product placement - safe?

10-30-2011, 10:04 AM
Every time I've stumbled upon phenomenon of real-life brands, products, works etc. in a fictional work, one thing always bugged me.

Straight to the point - what's the big deal with twisting the names of real life products in fiction? For example in certain webcomic (which I'm not gonna mention here :P) characters went to the cinema to watch... "Dragon liver", which was an obvious parody of a movie "Dragon heart".

I thought the reason for such modification of the name might be some sort of legality issues, but then, in that same webcomic there's a character who is a fan of Star Trek, and the author makes no effort whatsoever to distinguish it from the real life Star Trek show. It even goes as far as the character openly commenting upon the show, possibly displaying the author's own opinion about ST.

The question is - what is the point of twisting names of real life brands and product names? Can you be sued for making a trademarked product part of your story or something? Or can you make your story's characters drink Coca Cola without any fear of legality problems? I honestly don't understand this...

10-30-2011, 11:00 AM
I'm having a panic attack right now or I'd quote the whole thing but read the article here it'll answer your question http://www.dailywritingtips.com/use-of-trademark-names-in-fiction/

10-30-2011, 03:53 PM
Sometimes it's much funnier(your example). And I have seen sometimes different series use the same fake (I.E. WacDonalds). But it dpends on the comapany for legality and such. Some are fiercely protective, others don't care.

10-30-2011, 04:31 PM
Most of the time if you're not making a profit off of using their name in something, or something close to it, it's all good.

10-30-2011, 07:38 PM
There are tons of manga that I read that they did not change the name of the product, Well game console mostly. .
Playstation, NDS, PS3 or something other.

The article Psy gave is good information

10-31-2011, 11:54 AM
The subject is a bit more complicated than I expected... But indeed, that article had shed some light on the case. Thanks.

11-03-2011, 11:18 PM
It provides a simple parallel for the reader between the world of the story and the real world. When the Space Marines stop for fast food at "Burger Emperor," most readers will immediately get the reference and think, "Ha! They go for fast food just like us!" It's used also a lot in comedic cartoons to spoof or criticize an establishment in dramatic fashion without blatently attacking them.