Brand Naming: Kraft Foods’ ‘Isnack 2.O’ Controversy in Australia

Australia; Consumer packaged goods Abstract: This case is about Kraft Foods Inc’s decision to launch a breakfast spread with the name ‘iSnack 2. 0’ in Australia, and the controversy that followed which forced the company to withdraw the brand name. The company had decided to give the name ‘iSnack 2. 0’ to a new version of the Australian food icon – Vegemite – in September 2009.
While the company felt that the name it had arrived at after conducting an on-line brand naming contest would appeal to the generation Y segment who were using popular products such as the iPod and the iPhone, the target segment rejected the name outright and there was a huge backlash against the company. Marketing and branding experts were divided in their reactions to Kraft’s branding exercise.
While some experts felt that this was a genuine misjudgment on the part of the company, others felt that it was a clever marketing ploy to raise awareness about its new product. While the debate on this issue raged on, experts were almost unanimous in their view that this episode would not only be remembered as a horrible example in the history of branding, but would also serve as a valuable lesson in branding strategy for all marketers.

The case will help students to: (1) understand the issues and challenges in naming a brand (new brand, brand extension, rebranding); (2) analyze the effectiveness of crowd sourcing in branding decisions; (3) appreciate the importance of marketing research in branding decisions; (4) analyze the pros and cons of using social media as a marketing tool to generate publicity for a product; (5) understand why the target segment rejected the brand name ‘iSnack 2. ‘ for the brand extension of the iconic Vegemite brand; (6) discuss and debate whether Kraft’s decision was a deliberate attempt to create controversy to create awareness for its new product and the related ethical issues; and (7) explore ways in which Kraft could have made the branding campaign more effective and also explore branding strategies that Kraft’s marketing team can adopt in the future.
This case is meant for MBA / MS students as part of the brand management / consumer behavior/ marketing communications curriculum. The teaching note includes the abstract, teaching objectives and methodology, assignment questions, feedback of the case discussion, and additional readings and references. It does not contain an analysis of the case.

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