Kraft’s New Mondelez Naming Goof in Russian

Kraft Foods


Mondelez sounds like an interesting name, with “monde” – “world” in French – and delez as “delish”, but when it comes to the Russian language there is a bad association, the name sounding similar to a word that describes an oral sex act.

The Russian term is manda and it appears also on Wikipedia’s Russian profanity page. A professor of Russian language, literature and music at Northwestern University confirmed the bad association: “there is a rather vulgar word, ‘manda.’ [Mondelez] includes the sound of that word”.

It’s an unfortunate slip for Kraft, considering its growing presence in Russia with products largely aimed at women. However, Kraft representatives declared that they have tested the new name in “two rounds of focus groups in 28 languages, including Russian. We determined misinterpretations in any of the languages to be low-risk”.

A final decision on this rather fail name, Mondelez, is expected to be taken at a shareholders meeting on May 23rd.

Given the fact that a final decision hasn’t been taken yet and there are these opinions and confirmations on the association of the name, we could think that the name won’t get the final approval and the snack variety will have to receive a different retail name.

This would not be the first case when a name has a bad association somewhere. A Romanian Dacia brand model was called “Nova” – from new – but in Spain and Spanish speaking countries “no va” means “not working”. A very unfortunate and undesirable association for a car!

Smelly balls, big saucy bangers from Heinz and crack sticks are other examples of not so inspired product names.

Kraft Foods’ PR firms include Hunter Public Relations, Olson Engage, Edelman, Brunswick Group, Taylor & Weber Shandwick.

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