Mondelēz Ditches Kraft's Name; Others Dump the Accentby
OK, everyone, time to practice: “Mondelēz, please!” After more than a year of planning, Kraft’s split becomes official on Oct. 1 after the market’s close.
The North American grocery business will henceforth be known as Kraft Foods Group, which represents a name change and new stock ticker symbol. Its global snacks business bears the staff-picked moniker Mondelēz International.
In case you’re wondering which is the better growth bet, just follow former Kraft Chief Executive Officer Irene Rosenfeld. She’s left the challenge of persuading North Americans to consume more Velveeta cheese and Oscar Mayer meat to Kraft Foods’ new chief, Tony Vernon.
As CEO of Mondelēz, Rosenfeld will instead focus on getting the rest of the planet hooked on such stress-food staples as Oreo cookies, Trident gum, and Cadbury chocolates. Analysts are betting on her horse to move ahead, with Goldman Sachs dubbing the stock as a “Conviction Buy” that’s almost certain to log consistent double-digit growth. After all, nothing says you’re part of the emerging middle class like loading up on junk food.
Now they’ve got to get Mondelēz in the minds of investors. The made-up name, selected from 1,700 staff suggestions last March, is supposed to evoke “delicious world.” One of the more cryptic aspects is a horizontal line above the second “e” in Mondelēz. Mandarin speakers might interpret that symbol to mean it should be pronounced in an even tone. Japanese or Korean speakers might think they have to extend the vowel sound.
In fact, it’s a macron, a symbol that many English speakers last saw at the age of 7 to connote a long vowel sound in grammar class. (The short vowel has a little “u.”) The goal: to teach people that Mondelēz rhymes with “please” and reduce the likelihood of unforeseen trademark battles.
But the global snack giant is having a hard time keeping hold of its macron. It’s vanished in much of the coverage of the new global brand. Even Kraft itself seems undecided about its destiny. On Sept. 6 the symbol was absent in a press release that outlined the growth strategy for “Mondelez.” On Sept. 14 the macron reappeared in a release that outlined details of the split.
Mike Mitchell, whose spokesman duties shifted from Kraft to Mondelēz on Oct. 1, confirms that “the macron on Mondelēz International is still part of our corporate name. However, some systems are unable to reproduce the e with the macron appropriately, so you may see it without the macron in some places. We use the macron whenever possible.”
To be fair, the official launch of Mondelēz as a global brand won’t take place until Oct. 3. That gives everyone a few extra hours to mull over the macron—or find it on their keyboards.