Oreo, Jell-O, Maxwell House, Tang. It’s hard to find a grocery store aisle that doesn’t contain an iconic brand owned by Kraft Foods. Last summer, the Northfield, Illinois-based company, having at least partially digested its 2010 acquisition of Cadbury for $19 billion (that’s a lot of Mini Eggs), announced plans to split into two public companies: a “high-growth global snacks business” and a “high-margin North American grocery business.” The latter, which will include most of the cheesy stuff (Philadelphia cream cheese, the blue-box macaroni, those ubiquitous Singles), will get to keep the Kraft brand, leaving the larger snacks juggernaut in need of an appetizing new name. Kraft got down to business, soliciting some 1,700 suggestions from employees, and this week, the new corporate name was announced. Reader, it is Mondelēz International, Inc.
Say what? “‘Mondelēz’ (pronounced mohn-dah-LEEZ’) is a newly coined word that evokes the idea of ‘delicious world,’” noted the press release, which appears not to have been an early April Fool’s Day joke. “‘Monde’ derives from the Latin word for ‘world,’ and ‘delez’ is a fanciful expression of ‘delicious.’ In addition, ‘International’ captures the global nature of the business.” According to Kraft, the new name represents the Frankenstinian fusing of separate suggestions from two employees, one in Europe and another in North America. “I’m thrilled with the name Mondelēz International,” said Mary Beth West, the company’s executive vice president and chief marketing officer. “It’s interesting, unique, and captures a big idea—just the way the snacks we make can take small moments in our lives and turn them into something bigger, brighter, and more joyful.” As we come to terms with a future in which we’ll all be buying our Toberlones and Trident from a company whose name suggests a harebrained scheme of Lucy and Ricky Ricardo, we imagined the munchies-fueled meeting that sealed the deal with these Top Ten Things Overheard at Kraft’s Branding Task Force Meeting:
10. What was the name of Speedy Gonzales‘s cousin?
9. Please pass the Oreos.
8. Let’s keep it simple. I vote for “Snacks Alive.”
7. What about Vandelay Industries?
6. I actually really liked New Coke. Thought it was totally delez.
5. OK, then just something that sort of rhymes with Vandelay…
4. No offense, but I’ve got a basketball game to watch. Let’s just combine all of these suggestions together and take the average.
3. I thought you said “fleur de lis.” Makes me think of Three Musketeers. [audible gasps] You working for Mars now, Jim?
2. That little thing over the second “e”—does that read too Häagen-Dazs?
1. ‘Delicious world,’ like in Esperanto? For me, it conjures castanets. Is this an emerging markets play?