iMeme2.0

So. iSnack2.0.

I’d provide a link, but odds are that you already know what I’m talking about. Which is why it’s marketing brilliance.

Don’t get me wrong. I hate the name. It’s awful. It straddles the line between ignorant and patronising, from the youth pastor school of trying to “relate” to a culture that they have no intention of knowing anything about. It follows the management-speak trend of stripping a term of its techical meaning (which is an achievement for “i” and “2.0″ which have very little to begin with) by using it as a wildcard buzzword in contexts chosen at random. In summary, it’s a collection of things that rub me up the wrong way.

But if they’d called it Cheesymite, I wouldn’t be blogging about it, Facebook wouldn’t be filled with status updates about it, and it wouldn’t have become a running segment on The 7pm Project.

In any discussion of any length about iSnack2.0, someone will bring up the “all publicity is good publicity” adage. Mostly this is an attempt to give Kraft the benefit of the doubt, usually met with a chorus of “maybe… but no.” Sometimes it’s even (smugly, or otherwise) suggested that they’re about to discover just how bad publicity can be. (Because we all hate marketers, right?)

I’m not entirely sure whether the uproar was a conscious part of the marketing plan, but I think there’s a good chance that it was. And regardless of whether it was planned or not, the instant viral memesplosion (yes that is now a word) that has happened over the last few days will be all upside for the new product.

Everyone’s annoyed about the name now. That will last maybe a week. People simply don’t hold a grudge against a spread – there are too many more important things to save your vitriol for. Okay, a few die-hard outragees will boycott Kraft, maybe. For a couple of months. After that even they’ll start feeling petty for not buying Vegemite because of a name.

In the next few weeks, people will start buying iSnack2.0 for the novelty value. It’ll become an in-joke. Some – or many – of them will discover that they like it. The stupid name will not stop them from buying it again. All of these people are customers they wouldn’t have had otherwise.

After a couple of months, the word (and number) will lose its silliness because it’s been heard so often, like a word that you say over and over and over until you forget what it means. At that point, everyone will know the brand; most people will still say it’s silly if specifically asked about it, but they won’t generally be annoyed by it. This is what happened to the Nintendo Wii – at first no one could say it with a straight face, now it’s just part of the vocabulary, and along the way it’s become the best-selling piece of white plastic in the universe.

So whether the Kraft marketing team are geniuses or just lucky, I think they got this one right.

But I still hate the name.

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