A report last week in The Guardian about the UK digital ad market includes this text:
Google and Facebook will hoover up the market between them, it says.
This is not new by any means, but it is another instance of how the once-dominant vacuum cleaner brand name Hoover – note the capital ‘H’ – has become a generic descriptor (with a lower-case ‘h’) that’s used in metaphor as a verb like The Guardian’s use, as well as often applied when talking about any brand of vacuum cleaner.
It’s also what can happen to a brand where the owner has not taken the legal steps required in order to protect his rights to the intellectual property in the brand and name.
I tend to write ‘Hoover’ (with that capital ‘H’) whenever I use the name as a metaphor. Just a way of tipping the hat to a name that is in common use today but not as the brand owner foresaw.