Oftentimes, a brand can become so ubiquitous that people stop thinking of it as a brand of a specific product, and instead begin to associate the brand as inherent to said specific product. You probably do it all the time – sometimes without noticing.
For instance, in the south, it's common to call any soft drink a "Coke". Not just Coca-Cola, but anything from a Diet Pepsi to a Dr. Pepper – hey can you grab me a coke?
How about Kleenex? I'm sure most people simply refer to all tissues as "Kleenex". The brand has become synonymous with those soft tissues you use to blow your nose. The list of these brand takeovers goes on and on. Hey, can you Xerox this for me? Turn off that damn Nintendo!
Another brand that's reached this status? The iPad. To many people, all tablets are iPads, and this is becoming painfully (and hilariously) obvious in the context of the NFL.
Last May, Microsoft signed a $400 million deal with the National Football League, and part of that deal included making the Microsoft Surface tablet (Microsoft's iPad) the official tablet of the most popular sport in America. You've probably seen the results of this deal – coaches and players looking at tablets on the sidelines instead of old-fashioned playbooks. As part of the deal, NFL teams are now utilizing Microsoft's Surface in reviewing on-field actions and formulating strategy.
Good product placement, right?
Well, in theory.
That's an NFL announcer twice referring the the Surface tablet as an "iPad." Whoops.
Business Insider reports that this is not a singular screwup – but an alarming trend (if you're Microsoft).
In a separate incident, Drew Brees of the New Orleans Saints was spotted by Fox commentator John Lynch using a Surface on the sideline. Lynch remarked that Brees was "not watching movies on his iPad."
Lynch did seem to realize his mistake when he later noted that players now have "iPad-like tools" at their disposal. However, at no time during the discussion was Microsoft or the Surface mentioned by name.
It appears that Microsoft needs to have a talk with the NFL and the NFL needs to, in turn, have a talk with its broadcast partners and their announcers. Otherwise, Microsoft spent a pretty penny to give Apple a wonderful product placement deal.
Image via Vine, screenshot