iSnack2.0, ever heard of it? No, it’s not some sort of digital lunch and it’s definitely not a new piece of technology from Apple. It has captured headlines in Australia and has become the most debated topic on chat lines, social networks and tweets across the nation. In fact, the plot is almost as thick as iSnack2.0 itself, and it may take weeks to settle down.
Australia has been stunned to find that its favourite breakfast spread, Vegemite, has been dallied with by its manufacturer, American food giant, Kraft. For those of you that have never experienced Vegemite, it is a truly unique product supposedly derived from the yeast leftovers of brewing activities combined with what appears to be lots of salt. It is blackish brown in colour and has the consistency of molten tar. It has a unique smell and taste that drives most non-Australians into instant gagging reflex but for those Aussie kids weaned on Vegemite, it is God’s gift to the nation.
Australian tourists carry it with them everywhere. It comes in big jars, little jars and squeezy travel packs. It has caused more delays in customs queues worldwide than any other substance. Officers are left in disbelief when told what it is then go into shock when the carrier actually eats the stuff to prove its validity as a food item!
So what’s that got to do with iSnack2.0? Well, in order to raise the sales of it’s top-selling product Kraft did some market research and discovered that many Australians like to have their Vegemite on toast or crackers accompanied by cheese, usually Coon, another famous Aussie brand that probably would never make it on the shelves of any racially sensitive supermarket shelves in the world. The Kraft food chemists surmised that it would be hard combined hard cheese with black goo so they decided to go with a cream cheese option. Thus a blended Vegemite and cream cheese substance was born but what to call it?
Kraft’s marketing gurus, in their wisdom, launched a national campaign releasing the product in a jar labeled “Name Me”. Consumers swallowed up over 3 million jars of this stuff and by far, the most popular name given was, Cheesymite. Makes sense, right?. Sadly for Kraft, that name had been registered some years before by a national bakeshop chain not surprisingly called ‘‘Baker’s Delight’. They had already realised the popularity of Vegemite and cheese combination and created a swirly bread roll with big dollops of Vegemite mixed in and topped with crunchy baked on cheese. (My mouth is watering as I write this. As an expatriate Australian my very first task on returning home is to stop off at the closest ‘Bakers Delight’ to the airport and gorge on warm Cheesymite Scrolls. I’m feeling faint!)
It now appears that the second most popular name, although it’s hard to believe, was iSnack2.0 and Kraft decided to make the big announcement on TV during Australia’s equivalent to the Superbowl, the Australian Football League Grand Final. From the subsequent uproar it can be confirmed that the name was met with shock and horror. The consumer backlash so severe that Kraft now has to decide what to do with the massive stocks of labeled iSnack2.0 in its warehouses. We may yet see vigilante groups picketing supermarkets before this whole debacle is settled.
In what could become one of marketing’s greatest understatements, Kraft’s head of corporate affairs Simon Talbot said, “There’s a distinct possibility that we’ll be critically evaluating the name, it isn’t resonating with success or favour.”
YouTube even has this unique response. Click here to view.