Kraft announced today that it is discontinuing its new iSnack 2.0 product.
A line extension to Kraft’s venerable Vegemite spread–which has enjoyed decades-long popularity in Australia–iSnack 2.0 had a sad, short life characterized by a one-day fanfare followed by a three-day shower of rotten tomatoes.
Last week, Kraft Foods had proudly announced that its new product–a spread made of Vegemite and creamed cheese–had been named after a three-month, nationwide contest which provided more than 48,000 choices.
The winning name, iSnack 2.0, touched off an immediate worldwide reaction. Widely panned by industry experts and consumers alike, the iSnack 2.0 brand name is a textbook example of how not to do branding.
The problem wasn’t the contest, per se. Good brand names can come from anywhere–including contest entrants. But without a robust, valid means of evaluating name options, managers who are way too close to their brands can’t tell shit from Shinola. And as with any kind of naming contest, there’s a high risk that there may not be any Shinola coming in with the shit.
It astounds me that, in this age of dwindling trademark availability and a glutted brand landscape, some large companies are still having contests to find brand names for their products. Should “the single most important marketing decision you can make” really be left to chance like that? Do they use crowdsourcing to write their marketing and media plans, too?
Doctors bury their mistakes. Advertisers broadcast theirs. And then YouTube makes sure they go viral. How’d you like to be that product manager?