Kraft’s new brand ‘means oral sex’ in Russia

Kraft has drawn sharp criticism after it emerged that the Mondelez company name it unveiled last week is similar to a slang term for oral sex in Russia.

Oreo

The company unveiled the proposed name of its new global snacks business last week.

Russia is a huge emerging market for Kraft and this kind of faux pas could set back the firm’s progress in the region.

Observers have said that the name shows that Kraft hasn’t carried out proper due diligence to make sure that it finds a brand name appropriate for all international markets, and a mistake like this could potentially erode brand trust in the region.

Allyson Stewart-Allen, director of consultancy International Marketing Partner – which specialises in helping companies localise global brands so that they remain relevant in different markets, says: “Doing your due diligence on new brand names is essential so you don’t have the “clean up” costs that come with fixing a mistake. Kraft now will not only look foolish – a reputational cost – but potentially need to change the brand name in Russia altogether which undermines its global consistency, an essential for building trust and for establishing a brand.”

The proposed name, which still has to be agreed by shareholders, will be the new name for the global snacks company and the home to brands including Oreo, Cadbury, Milka, Trident and LU when the existing business splits into two separate organisations later this year.

Kraft claims that the name comes from the word ‘Monde’ from the Latin word for ‘world’ and “delez” meaning ‘delicious’ which combines two suggestions submitted as part of a crowdsourcing project that invited employees to chose the new name.

A spokesman for the company says: “The name builds on our higher purpose in a new way by capturing the idea of a ‘delicious world’ and we conducted extensive due diligence before announcing it. This included focus groups in 28 languages.”

Nokia recently fell foul of a similar international branding blunder after it emerged that Lumia – the name of its latest smartphone handset – translates to ‘prostitute’ in Spanish.

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  • […] “Mondelez” in 2012; almost instantly, it emerged that the word was uncomfortably similar to a vulgar Russian slang term. To customers in Russia (and everywhere else), this showed that Kraft did not carry out enough […]

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