Top 12 Brand Names Wrongly Regarded as Products Generic Names in Nigeria: Maggi, Gala, Jeep, others

Alt: = "photo showing vaseline cup,Omo old pack, and Maggi cubes pack"

Nigeria is  Africa’s largest economy, the most populous in the continent and 7th most populous nation in the world.  With such a large market, thousands of consumer goods compete to gain the acceptance of consumers.

A few of such brands have become so dominant, household name that they have become generic names for such items. These brands enjoy what is known in business as a first-mover advantage.

In some cases, these brands have become household names such that many people do not know the actual names for the products themselves.

The less popular brands now leverage on the names of the popular brands to sell — where any and every item can be sold in the name of the dominant brand. For instance people buy any sausage roll in the name of Gala. You are given any brand of noodles when you demand for indomie, except you where able to make specification.

Some were pioneer products while some were not the pioneer products but they have been able to dominate the Nigerian market with their names.


Gala is brand name of UAC Foods made sausage roll . It was the first sausage roll sold in large quantities in Nigeria. There are  products which have long been introduced in the Nigerian market like Super Bite, Biggi, other  yet Nigerians call all of them Gala — maybe the name sausage roll, which is the general name is long to pronounce.

To differentiate Gala from other brands, buyers and sellers would simply ask vendors for “Original Gala” or “Main Gala".


This is a brand name Maggi seasoning. It was founded in 1872, by a Swiss entrepreneur called Julius Maggi.

Maggi seasoning cubes took its name from Julius Maggi, although the patent right has been sold to Nestlé Foods.

It first appeared in the Nigerian market and kitchen in 1918. Other brands are Knorr, Royco, Onga, MrChef, Chicken Flavour, etc but many Nigerians know Maggi as the generic name instead of seasoning cube. To be specific you want Maggi, you have to ask for "Maggi Star", else you would be offered any seasoning cube. 


Pampers is a brand of baby and infant daiper products produced and marketed by Procter & Gamble. It was founded in 1961.

The early 1990s also saw the introduction of gender-specific diapers in the Pampers brand; the product returned to unisex diapers towards the end of the decade.

It was first imported into Nigeria in 2000 and has the largest share in diapers market. It was the first diaper brand produced and marketed in Nigeria. Whether it is Molfix or Huggies Nigerians mostly know diapers as Pampers. To differentiate Pampers from other diapers Huggies, Molfix,  buyers and sellers would say “main pamper”, “Molfix Pampers” or “Huggies pamper” thereby making Pampers appear to be the generic name.


OMO, an acronym that stands for Old Mother Owl, is a brand of detergent that dates back to nearly a century. It first came to Nigeria in 1962.

This detergent produced by Unilever has become a global brand and the household name for detergents across the country.

There are other brands such as Klin, Ariel amongst others yet many consumers refer to them as OMO.


This is an American brand of petroleum jelly owned by transnational company Unilever.

Vaseline was made by the Chesebrough Manufacturing Company until the company was purchased by Unilever in 1987.

Many Nigerian consumers call the other brands like Baby and Toddler, Fred and Flo, Dettol anti bacterial skin jelly vaseline.


This antiseptic is marketed in Nigeria and produced and marketed by Reckitt Benckiser.

It led the market so much that Nigerians use the brand name as the generic identity for any antiseptic.

Dettol has been in use in the country for over 50 years.


Alt: = "photo of Jeep Cherokee 1994 model"

Jeep is produced by American Bantam Car Company. It was introduced in 1940. This vehicle is called a “Sports utility vehicle”.

But to an average Nigerian, any sports utility vehicle (SUV) from any automobile brand, whether Toyota, Honda or Ford, remains a “jeep.”

The Jeep Cherokee is a line of SUVs manufactured and marketed by Jeep over five generations.

Jeep has used the nameplate in some capacity since 1974.


Indomie is a product of the Indonesian company Indofood in partnership with the Tolaram Group in Nigeria. It was introduced in 1988 to Nigeria through export, and in 1995 the company opened its first production factory in the country.

The generic name for this product is noodle, yet many Nigerians refer to all the brands as “Indomie”. Some of other brands are Chicki Chicki, Dangote, Golden Penny. Indomie still retains up 70% market share in Nigeria.

Titus Fish

Alt: = "photo of old Omo detergent pack"

Titus fish is  a seafood brand name that produces and packages a good number of seafood species. Some of its products are Titus Sardines and Titus Mackerel.

The Titus Sardines are packed in cans because the specie is small-sized but the Mackerel frozen.

Sardines and Mackerel fishes where first introduced in the Nigerian market by export by Titus Foods.

Today mackerel fishes are regarded as Titus fish by many Nigerians. If you go to the Nigerian market and ask for Mackerel fish, you may be surprised that sellers would tell you that they don’t have mackerel fish, what they have is “Titus” fish.

Mackerel is a common name applied to a number of different species of pelagic fish, mostly from the family of Scombridae. They are found in both temperate and tropical seas, mostly living along the coast or offshore in the oceanic environment.


The generic name of this product is toothpaste. But to average Nigerian, every toothpaste whether Close Up, OralB Pepsidyn, Cholgate, etc is MacLean making it the generic name. In recent times, due to the dominance of Close Up in Nigerian market, the generic name is shifting from Maclean to Close Up.

For 51 years, it has become difficult to differentiate between the brand products from other competitors, as the product has become a trademark for toothpastes in Nigeria. 


This is a trademark of ballpoint pen produced by Laszlo Biro. Biro was the first commercially  successful modern ballpoint pen invented and patented by Hungarian-Argentine inventor, Laszlo Biro.

In Nigeria every ballpoint pen is regarded as Biro. 

The generic name for this product is pen.

To some other Nigerians, generic name for ballpoint pen is BIC, whereas BIC is also another   ballpoint pen trademark.

BIC ballpoint pen is produced by BIC Inc, a US based writing instruments manufacturer founded in 1994 by Marcel Bich and Edouard Buffard.

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