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Vegemite spin-off iSnack 2.0 could become the subject of legal action - but not from the global computer giant with a famous penchant for the little 'i'.
The term iSnack 2.0 - chosen by Vegemite from 48,000 consumer suggestions for its new cream cheese variety - was trademarked in Australia eight years ago by toaster-maker Breville.
The household goods manufacturer trademarked the term for a "cooking apparatus including snack makers and sandwich toasters; parts and accessories in this class for cooking apparatus", according to online trademark register IP Australia.
Unhappy little Vegemites vent their fury over iSnack 2.0
IT MUST have seemed like a good idea at the time. But no sooner had Kraft trumpeted the name of its new Vegemite variant, iSnack 2.0, than it was met with almost universal condemnation by customers.
On Saturday, the internet bristled with indignation at the name chosen from 48,000 suggestions by Vegemite fans as part of a public relations campaign to name its new cheese-based spread.
But the internet-savvy generation that Kraft sought to court with the new name appears to be turning on it with a savagery not seen since
Coca-Cola changed its recipe in 1985 and rebranded it New Coke.
By last night the number of negative comments on Twitter, the microblogging site which has 700,000 Australian users and where consumers have collectively vented their spleen, numbered in the thousands. A website, Names That Are Better Than iSnack 2.0, has also sprung up.
Kraft crumbles: iSnack2.0 scrapped
Kraft has bowed to public pressure and ditched the name iSnack2.0 for its new Vegemite-cream cheese blend.
“We have been overwhelmed by the passion for Vegemite and the new product. The new name has simply not resonated with Australians. Particularly the modern technical aspects associated with,’’ said Kraft spokesman Simon Talbot.
In a statement this afternoon, the company said it would once again throw open the challenge to Australians to come up with a new name.
But the company denied it had all been a publicity stunt.
"At no point in time has the new Vegemite name been about initiating a media publicity stunt," Mr Talbot, said. "We are proud custodians of Vegemite and have always been aware that it is the people's brand and a national icon."
Thousands of the jars with the new name will be distributed to supermarkets ready to go on sale, ensuring that the soon to be scrapped name will quickly become a collectors' item.
"Our Kraft Foods storeroom currently has thousands of jars of the iSnack2.0 named Vegemite. This product will be distributed around Australia, and will continue to be sold in supermarkets for months to come - until Australia decides upon a new name," Mr Talbot said.
“Australians and New Zealanders will shortly be invited to help us make a choice. Please bear with us for the next 48 hours as we finalise how Australians and New Zealanders can decide the new name through an independent popularity vote."
The number of negative comments posted on blogs and on social networking sites is now running into the thousands, prompting Kraft to step back from the new name, which was chosen from 48,000 as part of a competition to get Australians to name the new spread.
Almost 3 million of the promotional ‘‘Name Me’’ jars were sold during the naming competition, suggesting it had been popular.
But the new name has roused almost universal indignation