The Case for Brand Names

“Though I’m usually put off by any use of brand names in fiction (it’s a lazy writer’s way of ‘placing’ a character, and nothing can be date a work more quickly than a reference to a brand of bed linen that no longer exists) it’s also true that certain consumer choices can communicate a wealth of information. Anyone who has ever listened to the NPR-syndicated call-in show Car Talk, will have noticed how much the brothers ‘Click and Clack’ can tell about each listener on the basis of what sort of car a caller drives, and the nature of his or her engine-repair or brake-drum problem. Once, I heard a man phone in to ask the brothers’ opinion on whether he should buy a red Jeep or a red Miata, a question to which the acutely perceptive reply was ‘So tell me, when did you get your divorce?'” — Francine Prose, Reading Like a Writer

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