When Kraft Foods announced in March that it would name its new global snack business “Mondelēz” as part of its upcoming corporate split, the world basically snorted in disdain. Say what? The pronunciation isn’t even exactly clear. Kraft says it's supposed to be pronounced "Mohn-dah-LEEZ," please.
Some crafty exec came up with the idea of combining the Latin words for “world” and “delicious.” It was a high-faluting idea that got dragged down through the gutter pretty quickly.
Shareholders in the company will get their chance to give their opinion on the name at the company's annual general meeting on Wednesday that will decide whether the maker of Oreos and Fig Newtons (sorry: Newtons) should be housed under the proposed Mondelēz name or not, according to the Associated Press.
A new name is necessary because Kraft is separating into two entities, one that needs a new name for the half that will house its global snacking brands, while the Kraft name will be used for the half housing its North American CPG/grocery brands. So the new name, whether it ends up being Mondelēz or not, must work for a worldwide audience.
The company just announced that one significant hurdle had been cleared, with the IRS providing "a favorable private letter ruling confirming the tax-free status of the planned spin-off of the company's North American grocery business and certain related internal reorganization transactions."
To kickstart the naming process that led to Mondelēz as the hotly debated name for the corporate entity for its snack brands, Kraft held a naming contest, inviting its more than 125,000 employees to submit ideas. More than 1,700 suggestions were made by more than 1,000 employees and such candidates as “Panvaro” and “tfark” ("Kraft" backwards) were bandied around.
Then Kraft’s global marketing team and a London-based consultant sorted through the best of the best, the names were tested twice with speakers of 28 languages, and “small focus groups were asked again and again if any of the names conjured up negative associations,” the AP reports.
The only thing that might have held back Mondelēz in the process, the AP notes, is “possible misinterpretation” of the word “for a Russian term meaning ‘oral sex.’” However, the Russian business unit said that wasn’t a big risk. And so Mondelēz was born. (Bloomberg Businessweek recounted the internal naming saga — don't miss the comments.)
The AP points out that “there were plenty of snickers” when Apple introduced the world to the iPad. Some wags thought it “sounded like a high-tech feminine hygiene product.”
As for Mondelēz? This week we'll find out if Kraft shareholders think it's a worthy moniker.