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Brand names in Sci-Fi and Fantasy.

Discussion in 'Writing Discussions' started by TGNewman, Apr 9, 2012.

  1. TGNewman

    TGNewman Scribe

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    Greetings,

    I'm currently in the process of writing a piece of sci-fi. Of course my characters drink eat, and do normal things, and I have found myself referring to Apple, Guinness, and the like. My sci-fi is based 300 years in the future.

    Of course some brands will disappear, but I don't see any reason not to use them, for, in my universe anyway, there has been no great Apocalypse etc, that would mean their businesses would fail.

    What do you think, of using brand names etc in works of fantasy and sci-fi?

    Regards,
    TGNewman
     
  2. I don't have a problem with it, as long as it's plausible that the brands would still be around. On the other hand, there's always the (admittedly remote) possibility of legal trouble if one of the brands gets annoyed—whether they have a case or not, they have a lot of money and can make trouble for you if they don't like the way they're depicted in the story.

    Plus, by coming up with your own brands (which can be obvious references to real brands, but give you plausible deniability), you can make them do whatever horrible things you want, and the real brands wouldn't even think of trying anything, since they know for a fact they'd lose any case. There is a line to straddle, though; if you name a computer company Bapple and have it run by a jerk named Steve Hobs, be careful.
     
  3. Butterfly

    Butterfly Auror

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    I don't think I want to read about brands... seems a but like piping them. After all, the brands I like may not be the ones you decide to use. I'd leave them out and just refer to them in a general sense.

    Ultimately, it's up to you. Your story, your work, you decide. But bear in mind that Ben is right about the legal aspects.
     
    Last edited: Apr 9, 2012
  4. Queshire

    Queshire Auror

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    Who says they have to be brands? Language is a very fluid thing, considering the time frame you described, it is entirely possible that the companies fail, but the brand names live on as the normal name for the thing. For example, I believe in certain types of the United States, all pop and soda is called Coke, even if it's not made by coca cola.
     
  5. Telcontar

    Telcontar Staff Moderator

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    Hard to say. If civilization has gone on fairly normally in the intervening years, I could certainly see at least a couple brands sticking around that long - but then again, 300 years IS a really long time. I doubt very many would survive on that kind of span. I'd pick maybe one or two and even include WHY and HOW they survived in your story. It could make for interesting reading.
     
  6. Penpilot

    Penpilot Staff Article Team

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    Last edited: Apr 9, 2012
  7. Saigonnus

    Saigonnus Auror

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    I agree with Ben, you should really create your own brands for the sake of the story. It is highly unlikely that very many of the companies would continue to do business, though the number would depend on the history for that 300 year span. If there was alot of turmoil and economic issues, maybe none of the companies we know today would even be around. I would also find it extremely unlikely in the scheme of things that there would be a 300 year period of time where nothing significant happens economically or otherwise.

    It really depends on how you are depicting mankind in that timeframe but who's to say that the "brand name" even exists anymore 300 years in the future? maybe they have an entirely different economic system then we have now. Perhaps all "companies" are public entities rather than privately owned/managed. Maybe it's all about preserving commodities and all formulas for devices, items etc... can be made by any company with the desire to do so without the need for patents or permissions.
     
  8. Shockley

    Shockley Maester

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    There's nothing fundamentally wrong with it, but remember that it will open you up to certain criticisms and might seem a little off-putting.

     
    Last edited by a moderator: Oct 10, 2017
  9. JCFarnham

    JCFarnham Auror

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    As Penpilot hinted at, think back to when you've seen those "established" dates on brand logos. So a good number of those are 1900s, a few are 1880-90's, but there's at least one I believe I've seen in my life time that suggested being established the 18th century... Some family business' have lasted a damn long time. Of course they're dying out now as the shape of business changes in struggling economies. Woolworth's comes to mind.

    I wouldn't worry about using them, but if you're going for brand realism at all you'd probably need to extrapolate, thinking about mergers, acquisitions, and so on. Applesoft anyone? haha Okay, so that's a joke example but it's something I've seen done to varying degrees of success.
     
  10. Queshire

    Queshire Auror

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    Heh, personally I'd like to see one of the companies today growng to be a nation. Kingdom of Google anybody?
     
  11. Saigonnus

    Saigonnus Auror

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    The whole I, Robot thing is a bit different considering it is supposedly set in Chicago; 2035, only a couple dozen years from now. Sure he has some 2004 vintage shoes, but 30 years isn't really anything compared to 300 years. Think of how much we've advanced from the 1700s to now and assuming you're good at history, you'll realize just how much can go on in that amount of time. There are many companies around the world that have lasted that long, but in the scheme of how many hundred of thousands of companies that have likely passed away for various reasons since the 1700s it is barely a handful that have lasted.
     
  12. Queshire

    Queshire Auror

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    Hm, I don't think I ever actually answered the orignal question...

    I don't think you have to worry that much about brand names so long as they're just atmosphere and not really that important to the plot, I think it'd fall under the reader's willing suspension of disbelief.
     
  13. Shockley

    Shockley Maester

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    @Saigonnus: The believability of a man having thirty year old shoes was never the point of criticism. It's that it was such an awful, blatant shill for Converse.
     
  14. TGNewman

    TGNewman Scribe

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    Thank you for the reply guys. As for the work,I'm using a few recognizable names, namely Guinness, jack Daniels, and... actually thats it. I'm only using these where appropriate, and it is not centered around the two companies. For my universe I just see these two as some of the few that survive for a very very long time.

    I also really like the idea, of my planet miners relaxing with a strong glass of Jack No.7
     
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