The famed producer of Oreo cookies and Ritz crackers gives itself a brand makeover that might leave you tongue-tied
"Will Kraft by another name taste as sweet?" asks Julie Jargon at The Wall Street Journal. The snack giant hopes so, sending customers to the most esoteric reaches of the phonetic universe with the new name for its global snack business: Mondelez International. Pronounced "mohn-dah-LEEZ," the new handle combines "monde" — the Latin word for "world" — and "delez," a made-up word for "delicious." To further complicate things, the name even employs a "macron" — a short dash — above the second "e," in an attempt to coax a long vowel sound from your mouth. The company is confident the public will embrace the name, but Kraft's shareholders have yet to vote on it. Should they send the "head-scratching" Mondelez back to the drawing board?
Mondelez must go: It bodes ill that Mondelez requires a "pronunciation guide," says Jess Collen at Forbes. A word that "can't be spoken" is "not likely a word which the public is going to understand, let alone embrace." As products increasingly crowd the market, it's getting "harder than ever to find a good name," but Kraft is obviously trying "too hard." The company shouldn't expect "an outpouring of praise for cooking up this new creation."
Consumers won't even notice: This is a corporate name change, not a brand name change, says David Welch at Bloomberg. The unpronounceable Mondelez "will remain in the background," used strictly on the back of packages of Oreos and Fig Newtons, so why should the public care? Plus, Kraft will retain its name for its eponymous U.S. grocery goods, which means Kraft Singles and Kraft Macaroni & Cheese will remain as they are.
"Kraft's name change to Mondelez leaves experts guessing"
The macron is actually pretty savvy: "On one level, taking brand guidance from Hooked on Phonics seems silly," says Diane Brady at Bloomberg Businessweek. On another, the macron is "inspired," because it reduces the chance that another company is already using the name. Don't think it's possible? "I vividly recall Shangri-La Hotels losing a court case over the use of its name in the Philippines because a tiny Manila restaurant claimed to have been using it first."
"Kraft, Mondelez, and the 'art' of rebranding"
And the buying public is more forgiving than you think: "People buy Cadburys and Oreos," branding consultant Robert Passikoff tells The New York Times. "They don't buy Kraft snack foods that happened to be named Oreos." And in the end, "customers will figure it out." After all, "they figured out Haagen Dazs."
"Kraft, 'Mondelez,' and the art of corporate rebranding"
Other stories from this section:
- How Goldman Sachs landed on top
- Walmart's discount-coffin controversy
- Wall Street's dirty little secret