Kraft’s most embarrassing and painful new product introduction is now complete. In what has been dubbed an epic Vegefail, its new Vegemite + cheese spread will henceforth be known as “Vegemite Cheesybite.”
More than 30,000 people voted for a winning name by way of online and telephone polling. “Vegemite Cheesybite” received 36% of the vote. In second place with 25% of the vote was “None of the Above”.
Interestingly, according to another online survey, most people think that this was all a PR stunt. Just look at the volumes of free media exposure, they argue. Kraft would have had to spend millions on traditional media to get this much awareness.
But that’s giving the brand managers at Kraft way too much credit. These folks are as risk-averse as they come. It’s inconceivable that they would purposefully unleash such an avalanche of negative attention. After all, they were so afraid of failure that they consigned the responsibility of naming their new product to the customer hivemind.
In my view, this situation is far more likely to be exactly what it looks like. Kraft’s managers were dim and naive, but not mean and conniving enough to have knowingly set poor Dean Robbins–the creator of “iSnack 2.0”– up for humiliation. He’s the one I really feel for.