The eponym: a marketer’s holy grail

The eponym: a marketer’s holy grail

An eponym or “name giver” is someone or something that becomes synonymous with the service provided. I was playing Wiffle Ball® with a Hacky Sack® while eating Granola® and Beer Nuts® until it was time for TV Dinners® next to our Fiberglass® Jacuzzi®. Using these generic terms pejoratively could raise the ire of these corporations’ trademark lawyers, but used passively the businesses are thrilled. After all, it’s the first thing you think of the next time you’re buying toys, food or outdoor tubs.

The world’s very best Internet branders and marketers realize the pinnacle moment for their product comes when the greater public adopts their proper nouns in common language. And it’s happening even as we speak. Googling has become eponymous for any Internet search – blogging, facebooking and tweeting are other eponyms, each recently integrated within our daily language while a younger generation may not even realize their origins. Perhaps the litmus test for measuring weather something is truly revolutionary comes down to the eponym.

Eponyms that have arrivede

  • Ebay – “You should ebay that Hermes scarft” (Excellent)
  • LinkedIn – “Are we LinkedIn?” (Excellent)
  • Apple – “Is there an App for that?” (Holy Grail)
  • Pinterest – “Pin it on your site” (Holy Grail)
  • PayPal – “Send the money online” (Holy Grail – because it’s the default)
  • Google – “Google him immediately!” (Holy Grail)
  • Facebook – “Friend me and we’ll go out” (Holy Grail)
  • Upworthy – “Your kitten pictures are upworthy” (Holy Grail)

Finding its footing

  • Bitcoin – “Bitcoin that drug money out of Colombia!” (Also synonymous with “get a lawyer”)
  • Instagram – “Instagram me that picture, please” (Good, if you want sepia pictures)
  • Amazon – “What about buying that new book for the beach? Prime it!” (Catching on)
  • YouTube – “I saw it on YouTube” (Expect a 2 minute shaky video)
  • Netflix – “I watched it on Netflix (A crappy movie or great television show)
  • Wikipedia – “Look it up on Wikipedia” (95% accurate)
  • Tumblr – “My social life doesn’t exist because I’m always on tumblr” (True)
  • Craigslist – “She found it on Craigslist” (She must live in the city)
  • Pornhub – “I’m addicted to free porn.” (Synonymous with ‘free porn’)
  • Huffington Post – “I love Bill Clinton and Huffington.” (Works)
  • Drudge Report – “The minimum wage should be just that – zero!” (Works)

Doesn’t quite work

  • – “You should Ask about that.” (Nope)
  • Bing – “You going to bing your blind date?” (Nope)
  • Yahoo! – “I wonder if she sent it to my Yahoo!” (Nope and vaguely vulgar)

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  1. Alex

    I like that there are certain marketing aspects that can’t be bought. For instance the eponym!

    • JJ Worth


      Makes you wonder if there’s not some SEO strategy out there for that!

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