Population Statistic: Read. React. Repeat.
Tuesday, November 03, 2021


If Kraft Foods Australia learned anything from the strident, New Coke-like public backlash to its recent name-that-foodstuff promotion, it’s this: Aussie are very touchy about their Vegemite.

It all began in July when jars of caramel-brown Vegemite mixed with cream cheese began appearing on supermarket shelves with brightly colored labels inviting consumers to “Name Me.” After weeks of secrecy, during which the company sold more than 3 million jars of the new product to a population of just 22 million people, Kraft took an expensive advertising slot during a nationally televised Australian-rules football final Sept. 26 to announce its winner: Vegemite iSnack 2.0.

The reaction was fierce. Vegemite-loving consumers took to the Internet to voice their collective indignation about the name. Thousands of Twitter posts, at least a dozen Facebook groups and a Web site dedicated to “Names that are better than iSnack 2.0” blasted American-owned Kraft for tampering with an Australian icon…

After four days, Kraft announced that it would put the name back to a vote. This time, it put forward six rather more conventional choices — including Vegemate, Snackmate and Vegemild — from which Cheesybite was elected through an online and telephone poll. The controversy quickly died away.

I’m extremely skeptical about this chain of events. I’d bet anything that Kraft orchestrated this controversy by choosing a “winning” name that they knew would incite negative reaction. I mean, come on — “iSnack 2.0″?? Even the most insular corporate groupthink wouldn’t deem that worthy. The quick turnaround in rolling out a backup name is another tipoff. This was an in-house guerrilla marketing stunt, all the way. It succeeded by overblowing what would have otherwise been a so-what product launch, Vegemite fervor notwithstanding.

I wonder how the photo above, which I snapped a year ago near 1st and 1st in the East Village, would look with jars of Cheesybite interspersed among the straight-yeast flavor. Probably not as visually appealing.

by Costa Tsiokos, Tue 11/03/2021 10:17 PM
Category: Advert./Mktg., Food, Photography
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