Sandwich cream

Understanding brand naming

I recently read the news that Heinz is considering changing the name of Salad Cream to Sandwich Cream – I find this fascinating!

I can’t say if I think this is a good thing to do or not, but I have to say that my initial instinct is that it isn’t necessary. Don’t get me wrong, I am a big believer in getting naming right and aligning brands to consumer expectation, but this feels instinctively ‘unnecessary’. Ok, so this is my logic, and let me just preamble with the fact that I have no background data on this, no surveys, polls, no qual research, it is only a feeling.

You see for me, consumers lived for years with Carphone Warehouse, yes massive mistake to leave their brand like that, in fact I told them 17 years ago it was a mistake, and they told be to bugger off I didn’t know what I was talking about… ahum. However, they did stumble on for 16 years before they completely lost any relevance to consumers. However my point here, is if Carphone Warehouse can stumble on with a name that has no relevance at all, then I can’t see that a name that has such a long standing history (114 years) with a product that changing it is going to be wise.

I have another issue, and it’s this; salad cream ‘to me’ has been a way of adding flavour and texture to something that can sometimes taste a little less interesting than our tastebuds have been trained to desire. It therefore has a emotional connection that has been deep set in our conscience. The two things, salad and cream, are a perfect combination. They bring an emotional match that tells us that flavour and texture can be added to something fresh and healthy, thus a partnership made in heaven.

The trouble with Sandwich Cream is that the match feels stodgy, it feels unhealthy, dirty, a match made in chips shops, and while I’m at it, many people cover their chips in it, should we call it Chip Cream?

I am all up for relevance, but please Heinz, don’t ignore all other context just for the flavour of the strategy day – relevance (pun wasn’t intended). The name was a positive thing, it encouraged people to eat salads, and yes it may not be healthy in itself, but in the same way dips are unhealthy, if a small amount can add flavour to a salad, then is that so bad?

So you are taking a name that has rich history, people know it and love it, and yes it isn’t the healthiest, but it does have a healthy benefit, and you change it to associate with something stodgy, unhealthy and in the process, encourage people to use it in an unhealthy way – hmmm… not sure.