On Wednesday, Kraft Foods announced the new name for its global snack business, Mondelez, but amidst the company's excitement, it must have forgotten to check what the word means in Russian.
Crain's Chicago Business broke the story yesterday, revealing that when pronounced in Russian, Mondelez is a term for oral sex.
Kraft responded to Crain's by saying that the company tested the word in various languages.
“We did extensive due diligence in testing the name,” Kraft spokesman John Simley said. “That included two rounds of focus groups in 28 languages, including Russian. We determined misinterpretations in any of the languages to be low risk.”
The company created the word based on more than 1,700 suggestions from 1,000 employees around the world, and it was designed to mean “delicious world,” combing the Latin word for world, “monde,” and the made-up world “delez.”
Despite its naughty Russian meaning, it seems like Kraft will still try to get shareholders to approve the new name at the shareholder meeting in May.
Even though the Mondelez isn't a consumer-facing name and it's only offensive in one language, it may not be a wise decision for Kraft to keep it, especially since the company represents family food products, like Oreo's and Maxwell House coffee. To continue its wholesome image and communicate the right message to consumers and stakeholders, the best option for Kraft is probably to go back to the drawing board.