Mondelez Logo

For Oreo, Cadbury and Ritz, a new parent company

Shareholders of Kraft Foods have overwhelmingly approved Mondelez International as the name of the $35 billion snack foods company that will be created when the company finally splits sometime later this year.

Coined by two of Kraft’s employees, the name is meant to evoke the global ambitions of the new snack business, and pique the palate as well with its nod to the words for “world” and “delicious” in a variety of romance languages.

Kraft announced plans last August to split itself into two companies. One will be a North American grocery business made up of brands like Velveeta, Kraft Macaroni & Cheese and Oscar Mayer that earn a lot of cash and profit despite low growth. The other will be the bigger, sexier snack foods company with more than 80 percent of its business in fast-growing markets abroad.

Kraft decided the grocery business would retain the Kraft name, and rather than hiring an ad agency or marketing firm to come up with a new name for the snack foods company, it held a contest among its employees that attracted some 1 000 entries.

“Curiously, two different employees came up with essentially the same suggestion for the name, though with a slightly different spelling,” said Michael Mitchell, a spokesman for Kraft.

Mitchell said the employees, both men, had arrived at the notion of a name connoting “delicious world.” Johannes Schmidt, an information systems employee in the company’s Vienna office, had looked for something with the cadences of a waltz, he said. Marc Firestone, the general counsel based in the company’s headquarters in Northfield, Ill, had come to the name on a drive from Brussels to Frankfurt on business.

There was no prize “other than our undying love and the honour of having named the new company,” Mitchell said.

Consumers will see the name only in small print — Mondelez will allow its famous brand names, which will include Oreo, Cadbury, Milka, Trident gum, Tang and Ritz, to do their work. “It’s not intended to be a consumer brand,” Mitchell said.

Marc Babej, a partner at Reason, a marketing and strategic innovation firm, said that was a good thing, of a name that has drawn floods of derision. “Its saving grace is that it’s just a name for a corporate entity.”

He said as the name for a global company, Mondelez would have little meaning to consumers outside countries like Italy, Spain, France and Portugal. “I doubt that its connotations are going to be so obvious to English, German, Japanese or Chinese speakers,” he said.

Allen Adamson, MD at Landor Associates, a brand design firm, avoided expressing an opinion about the name. Instead, he applauded Kraft for having managed to find a name in relatively short order that apparently overcame all the potential trademark and legal hurdles such things face these days.

“Their lawyers will have immediately eliminated 97 percent of the names they came up with because they were already taken,” Adamson said. “Finding a name is no longer a creative exercise, which is why most names today sound like they were created by a computer program. This one, in fact, almost sounds real.”

Source: Bloomberg