A couple of weeks ago, I wondered why Electrasol, the dishwashing detergent, was changing its name to “Finish.” Yesterday, a reader from Australia left this comment:
Here in Australia, Finish has been a brand name of dish machine detergent for as long as I can remember (and I’ve never heard of “Electrasol”), so maybe they are starting corporate alignment with a parent company or something?
I have no idea if it is the same stuff, but then they wouldn’t be the first company to have the same name for different things in different parts of the world; or different names for the same thing for that matter.
And I replied with this:
There certainly are a lot of branding differences between North America and Australia. The one that was most frustrating for me was when I had a headache in Melbourne and tried to buy some “Tylenol,” which is our brand name for acetaminophen. I can’t remember what you call it there, but it took me a while to get some. Same thing with “Sultana Bran” (we call it Raisin Bran) and “Rice Bubbles” (we call it Rice Krispies).
Now, Sultana Bran makes sense, since what we call raisins here are known as sultanas in Australia. But why Rice Bubbles? I mean, there’s nothing inherently wrong with it, but why bother with the two different names?
There’s a whole raft of stories about companies marketing their wares in foreign markets under inappropriate brand names. The most famous is probably the Chevrolet Nova, which didn’t sell well in Latin America because “no va” is Spanish for “doesn’t go.” This story is actually not true, BTW, the Nova in fact sold quite well in Latin America, surpassing expectations in some countries. Check Snopes.
Oh, and I remember now the reason I had such a hard time getting my Tylenol. After a request for Tylenol was met with a blank stare at the chemist’s, I (very cleverly, I thought) used the chemical name, acetaminophen. The trouble is, there’s ANOTHER way to refer to that chemical compound: paracetamol. And that’s the one they use in Australia.
Anyway, back to Bubbles. I did a little digging, and it turns out Frosted Flakes are called Frosties in most non-American English-speaking countries. But Corn Flakes, Froot Loops, and Special K are all called the same thing down under. Any speculation as to why Kellogg’s goes to this trouble?