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'Mayochup' and other marketing mishaps


A new condiment introduced in Canada for a limited time is eliciting quite the reaction on social media for its unintentionally saucy name.

Kraft Heinz has acknowledged “Mayochup,” its mayonnaise-ketchup product, has an "unfortunate translation" in Cree. Arden Ogg, director of the Cree Literacy Network, told the Canadian Press that the name can be construed as "shit face" in a Northern region of Ontario.

While the condiments company is a bit red-faced about the flub, the moniker actually came to be as a result of social media crowdsourcing.

So naturally, Twitter, the medium that named the product, had plenty to say about the Cree translation.

It eventually made international headlines.

There’s even a petition to get the product renamed.

This certainly isn’t the first branding blunder that has made some do a double-take - and would be considered quite mild compared to other cringey marketing mishaps.

Last year, luxury brand Dolce and Gabbana launched a culturally insensitive and sexually suggestive ad campaign that featured a Chinese model attempting to use chopsticks to pick up Italian food like pizza and cannolis. The designers apologized for the campaign and were forced to cancel a fashion show in Shanghai.

A Heineken ad released in March 2018 with an unfortunate slogan was immediately labeled as racist. It featured a bartender sliding a beer past three black people, to a white woman, followed by the tagline “Sometimes, lighter is better”.

In 2015, Yellow Pages were put on blast for a subway ad mixed up a Korean food staple. It read “Find out if Bi Bim Bap tastes as fun as it sounds” juxtaposed with a graphic of a bowl of noodles. The dish actually consists of rice.

Also in 2015, British grocery store Tesco promoted bacon-flavoured Pringles in a display case with the messaging, Ramadan Mubarak.

David Soberman, a marketing professor at the Rotman School of Management, says the world of marketing is an on-going education, and sometimes lessons are learned after a product has been launched.

“There was no ill intent with this (product) but guess what, I bet you the next time Heinz launches a product, they’ll check what it means in Cree,” he tells Yahoo Canada News.

The fact that Mayochup is only on shelves for a limited time means there’s little the company can do outside of issue a statement acknowledging the flub.

“If it’s a short-time product then it’s less likely to be a big issue than if it was a big launch for something that was going to be around for the next 30 years,” he says.