February 28, 2010


Some months ago, I read this article in the NYTimes about a contest to name a new product line: Vegemite blended with cream cheese. The name that won was Vegemite iSnack 2.0.

iSnack 2.0 Vegemite

Apparently, there was an angry reaction to that name, and Vegemite lovers voiced their displeasure online with
"...thousands of Twitter posts, at least a dozen Facebook groups and a Web site dedicated to 'Names that are better than iSnack 2.0.'"

One online commentator suggested that the 27-year-old designer who had submitted the winning name be tarred with Vegemite and forced to run naked through the streets of Sydney "as retribution for his cultural crime." Others called the name 'uStupid 1.0' and 'un-Australian.'" -NYTimes
As a result of the firestorm of crticism, Kraft countered by changing the name to Cheesybite. I was able to procure some of the "Cheesybite," though in the iSnack packaging, and the real problem is not with a ridiculous title, but that upon tasting the product, I was unable to fool my taste buds into thinking I wasn't licking dumpster refuse. I'm sorry to say that Cheesybite or iSnack or uStupid or whatever you want to call it is not much of an improvement over the original Vegemite. Apologies to my Aussie friends who enjoy the stuff.

Scott reported from down under on Australian foods more palatable than Vegemite. He ate lamb and some 'kanga bangas,' which is kangaroo sausage. He lives in a predominantly Polynesian area now, and they have a drink called horti (or-tie) that's really good. Scott said you can change up what goes in, but it's a drink with milk and then whatever kind or fruit that you want to shred up into it. I was unable to find more information about "horti" online despite my search prowess, so either Brother isn't spelling horti the way everyone else does or the creators of horti aren't advertising their invention online, at least not in English.

Scott further said of Polynesian food that it has almost no flavor and is very starchy. He said he's seen two kinds of cheese there: tasty and light...and neither is tasty at all. I think it's nice that my brother, who was always Mr. Meat and Potatoes for dinner and who avoided ethnic cuisine is in the middle of the Australian melting pot. It seems he's expanding their food horizons himself, though. After hearing a talk with the metaphor "trying to savor the goodness of a grape while trying to chew a jalapeño pepper," he explained to them what a jalapeño is.

Other than that, he said everyone makes them cakes and they are not even close to being like mine, which I take as a compliment. And he said that he was biking down the road and someone threw a metal can at him from their car, but it hit him in the helmet. Hopefully he'll give me some new stories to tell soon. I've been telling that can story for a couple of weeks now and it's played. I should spice it up with "and then they tarred him with Vegemite because they didn't want to eat the stuff..." uStupid.


Melanie said...

Hahah! When I first saw the title I thought it read iShack. Perhaps a more fitting name?

wendy v. said...

Hey, who's the person who got that uStupid stuff shipped all the way from Australia for you to take a picture? No credit for her? I hope someone throws a can at your head for that one.

Kimberly said...

I really wanted to tell the story of how you bought that on eBay using Mom's account and she was calling all of us asking about it, thinking that someone had hacked into her account. Those crazy hackers got to have their Vegemite.