There has been an article circulating about variations in English pronunciation and word usage around the continental United States. It is a very good read - find it here. After glancing through the 20 plus maps in the article that delineate the variations in English, a few peaked my interest.
The above map shows what words Americans use to describe a "sweetened carbonated beverage". How do you call it? I most certainly do not say pop - which sounds to me like a phrase pulled from the 1920's.
Coke or Soda: Which One is Better?
However what we can see from this map is the green area in the southern United States - Texas, Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, Tennessee and parts of Georgia. This area uses the word "Coke" to refer to all types of soda. This phenomenon is not new to the marketing world - where one extremely popular, ubiquitous brand becomes the word of choice. The stereotypical examples of this are Kleenex and Bandaid - what do you call a bandaid if it isn't a Bandaid?
Coke: Brand Dissolution
I believe that Coca Cola should be mildly concerned with the linguistic developments in the south. When certain brands become so popular they change the nomenclature of the market - the brand has begun to bleed. When Coke's name, which has been fortified with billions of marketing and branding dollars, is associated with other brands they may begin to enjoy Coke's marketing benefits. Although Coke may rule the South this does not mean that such language cannot spread north or east or west. I think it wouldn't hurt for Coke to invest in a marketing campaign to reassert their position in the market and stem the tide. What do you think?
Just For Fun
I come from RI and we always call the water fountain the bubbler (read: /BUB-lah/) . Is it me or is it weird that Wisconsin and one lone little state in New England use this strange term? #foodforthought