Apparently there was some sort of sporting event on Saturday — not that those of us who spend our weekends hopelessly glued to our laptops and iPhones noticed (not that it’s hopeless when we do it, of course, because we’re online-journalist-social-media-expert-guru-bloggers and that’s just how we roll in the Web Squared era. No accounting for those other freaks, though); the Big Game was eclipsed by a far more important issue: Kraft has finally found a name for its “new version” of Vegemite.

And it’s horrible.

How horrible?

Are you sitting down?

Got a stiff drink?

Dialled two zeros on your phone just in case your face is badly injured in the severe bout of cringing that is about to occur?

Deep breath…

The Vegemite iSnack 2.0. Yes: they really called it that.

As the gatekeepers of Web 2.0 and poking fun at easy targets, the good citizens of Twitter just about went into snark meltdown when the new name was revealed in the quarter-time ad break of the AFL Grand Final, and all discussion of men in tiny shorts running around an oval was quickly discarded as #Vegefail took over as one of the highest trending topics in the world.

In online forums (remember those? So Web 1.0. How ironic.) all over the ‘tubes, folks from every conceivable community and sub-culture were united by their shared hatred of the name: skiers hated it, club kids hated it, Mac fanboys hated it, footy fans hated it, homosexuals hated it, foodies hated it, gamers hated it, body-builders hated it, the British Army hated it, highschool students hated it, mums hated it, stock traders hated it, and Delta Goodrem fans hated it.

Those people who rant to their webcams on YouTube… ranted to their webcams (here and here):

On the blogs, the punters were equally scathing:

“Kraft have lost the plot” declared OzSoapBox:

Kraft claim the name iSnack 2.0 was chosen to “to align the new product with a younger market — and the ‘cool’ credentials of Apple’s iPod and iPhone.” Really guys? That’s how superficial we have become as a society? Sorry but sandwich spread is never going to be “cool”. Kids aren’t going to gather around the playground to checkout some kids new sandwich, wake up early to watch the new show on sandwich spread tv or begin to start trading Vegemite trading cards anytime soon.

Tethered Cow Ahead wished it was all a pisstake:

Aside from anything, the ‘i’ was originally intended to designate ‘internet’ and if there’s one thing that Kraft and Vegemite has demonstrated extremely clearly, it’s their complete lack of intertubes acumen.

In fact, an entire blog — Names that are better than “iSnack 2.0” — has been created to document this fallout from this PR bomb.

So how did Kraft end up with such a universally hated new moniker for its iconic brown sludge? Don’t they focus group this stuff?

You see, instead of paying marketing professionals to come up with something actually good, Kraft had a competition to come up with a name. And out of an alleged 48,000 entries, that was the best one.

Or so they say.

But some of you may remember that the Crikey Team put our lives on the line in the name of journalism by actually taste-testing the new Vegemite while still in its un-named form. At the time, the inimitable First Dog submitted a name of his own. We put it to you: Is Kraft’s choice really better (or more appropriate) than Dog’s?

Peter Fray

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Peter Fray
Editor-in-chief of Crikey

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