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Irwin Weil, a professor of Russian language, literature and music from Northwestern University, tells Macarthur it’s “perfectly true” that it’s a vulgar term:
“There is a rather vulgar word, ‘manda’ (манда́). [Mondelez] includes the sound of that word,” he said, adding that Kraft probably “had no idea when pronounced it means a Russian vulgar word.” The second half of the name roughly translates into the sex act, say Russian speakers.
Our Russian speakers here at the Business Insider office say that at first glance, you probably wouldn’t come to that conclusion. However, once someone points it out and you think about it, it could be interpreted that way.
Meanwhile, Kraft tells AdAge that it did plenty of testing and determined any misinterpretations would be “low risk.”
Vulgar or not, it’s bringing attention to the importance of doing due diligence when you pick a name for a product. A lazy mistake can lead to a serious business problems — or at the very least, some sophomoric hilarity.
Russian speakers, do you agree with Weil’s analysis? Chime in below.