by Tanya Thomas on  October 8, 2009 at 8:39 AM Lifestyle News
 'Cynical Marketing' Allegations Force 'iSnack3.0' Into The More Tame 'Cheesybite'
Their first name sounded like the iphone's cheesy cousin, but now, public outrage has changed all that.

A new version of Australia's much-loved Vegemite spread was renamed "Cheesybite" on Wednesday after a public backlash over the original choice, "iSnack2.0", and mutterings of a cynical marketing ploy.

US manufacturer Kraft said "Vegemite Cheesybite" won 36 percent of votes in a poll of 30,000 Australians and New Zealanders, beating "Vegemite Smooth" and "Vegemate".

"We have been overwhelmed by the response of the Australian public; it has been an insightful debate," said Kraft spokesman Simon Talbot.

Kraft had chosen the name iSnack2.0 from almost 50,000 entries in a competition to name its new Vegemite product, a blending of the original pungent, dark spread with cream cheese.

But the announcement prompted an irate response, with outraged critics labelling iSnack2.0 "unAustralian", "the worst name ever" and "#vegefail" on social networking sites.

Kraft bowed to public anger and announced Wednesday that the new product, which will be sold alongside the original Vegemite, will be called Vegemite Cheesybite.

Kraft spokeswoman Greta Cooper said the name iSnack2.0 was meant to convey that the new creamier product was more of a snack food than a spread, with the 2.0 a reference to the fact it was different to the original Vegemite.

"But the public didn't see it like that," she said. "It was identified as a food product engaging in technology and consumers didn't like that."

Controversy over the name won the brand much media coverage but Kraft has repeatedly denied the contest was an elaborate marketing campaign.

"I can definitely deny that that was the case. Hand on my heart, the Kraft board would not engage in anything as unethical as that," Cooper told AFP.

"What this has done for us is really provided us with some great insights into what Australians and New Zealanders think about the Vegemite brand. But by no means was it an intentional activity."

Vegemite, a staple in Australian homes, is a yeast product similar to Marmite but saltier and heavier than its British cousin.

Source: AFP

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