9 May

The Name Game

By Libby Esterle

Senior Account Executive

Definition of GENERIC- from Merriam-Webster

a : relating to or characteristic of a whole group or class :general
b : being or having a nonproprietary name <generic drugs>
c : having no particularly distinctive quality or application<generic restaurants>

: relating to or having the rank of a biological genus
— ge·ner·i·cal·ly  adverb
— ge·ner·ic·ness noun

As I sat down with my coffee the other morning I realized (sadly) that the generic/private label French Vanilla Creamer I picked up to try really ISN’T the same as my brand name, go-to International Delight French Vanilla Creamer. The consistency was thinner and the flavor wasn’t very rich—overall, it just seemed “cheaper,” probably because it was.

So, as a member of a Cincinnati-based marketing and communication agency that works with clients on their brand identity, it got me thinking about generic vs. brand names and how, I as a consumer, decide when to save some $ and go generic and when I spend a little bit more for a brand name because I feel it is a superior product.

So, what’s in a name, anyway? Here are a few things I can, and do, purchase at the grocery store when I feel the generic version is just as good as its pricier brand-name counterpart:

  • Most over-the-counter medicine. Despite some recent controversy re: generic vs. brand name prescription drugs not being “bioequivalent” for the most part I’ve found that “Children’s Pain Relief” works just as well as “Children’s Tylenol Pain and Fever.”
  • Shampoo, body wash, dish soap, soap soap….you get the picture.
  • Bread. In fact my family prefers the private label version of the whole wheat bread I buy and encourage them to eat (simply by not buying any other kind) because “it doesn’t have all those seeds and stuff on top.” Ok, then. Win!

On the flip side, I DO believe in some instances, you get what you pay for. And sometimes that means you shouldn’t be so generic and just go with the brand names on things like:

  • Coffee creamer, obviously. Also, while I know Folgers, etc. ARE brand names, I prefer to spend a little more on “fancier” coffee. And by fancy, I mean Dunkin’ Donuts.
  • Frozen pizza. For some reason, Newman’s Own, Red Baron, Freschetta and California Pizza Kitchen pizzas are just better. More flavorful. Even my homemade pizzas beat the crust off the private label varieties I have tried in the past.
  • Toilet paper. That one should speak for itself. And if it doesn’t my family will speak up in protest.

So, tell me what you think? Am I off base on some of my purchasing choices? Are there generic and/or name brands that you particularly like or dislike?

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