skip to Main Content

Whittaker’s Miraka Kirīmi block shows just how passionate Kiwis are about brands

There was a backlash from some people about Whittaker's use of te reo Māori on a block of chocolate.

Ross Giblin / Stuff

There was a backlash from some people about Whittaker’s use of te reo Māori on a block of chocolate.

Presenting te reo Māori to its wrapper, on the surface, should be a win for Whittaker chocolate. After all, it is one of the country’s three official languages.

But the backlash from the decision shows it’s not that simple, said Bodo Lang, chief marketing officer at the University of Auckland’s business school.

Whittaker’s has released a limited number of its creamy milk chocolate blocks with the name in te reo on the wrapper in support of Te Wiki o te Reo Māori.

Chocolate lovers and Whittaker supporters pledged to buy more chocolate blocks in support of the brand and against those boycotting the brand out of frustration.

READ MORE:
* Police create te reo app to make Maori language just a click away
* Story made while Romeo and Hurieta were playing in the Shakespearian town of Taranaki during Te Wiki o te reo Māori
* This week has lasted for centuries – a link to our past and our future

Right-wing blogger Cameron Slater tweeted Monday “Go wake up, go broke… see you soon @WhittakersNZ”, along with a picture of the te reo Māori packaging.

“Commercially this is a fantastic choice, your outrage only increases their sales,” one Twitter user replied.

MORNING REPORT/RNZ

Local chocolate company, Whittaker’s, is expanding its manufacturing facilities in Porirua, north of Wellington, as it aims for an aggressive export plan. First published in April 2017.

“I had to give up chocolate because it makes me sick, but I’m going to buy one just to spite you.” And let my family fucking eat it,” another said.

Lang said there were three main types of consumers: those who were supportive, those who weren’t, and those who were more or less indifferent to the change.

The risk for Whittaker’s was that favorable consumers would not buy much more chocolate beyond the initial novelty period, while those who did not favor the use of te reo Māori on the packaging might boycott. the brand.

“There may not be a significant and sustained increase in sales, but there is a risk of a downturn due to those who are not as inclusive in their worldview or those who do not like everything just not having their favorite brand changed,” he said. .

Some consumers were very passionate about their favorite brands, and there were many examples around the world of brands changing their packaging or changing their recipe after a backlash from consumers.

Whittaker's new limited edition Creamy Milk block has been translated into Miraka Kirīmi for Te Wiki o te reo Māori.

Provided

Whittaker’s new limited edition Creamy Milk block has been translated into Miraka Kirīmi for Te Wiki o te reo Māori.

Cadbury suffered this fate many years ago, which helped boost Whittaker’s popularity. The “New Coke” recipe in 1985 was another famous example that backfired on Coca-Cola reverting to the old recipe despite blind taste tests showing the new taste was in fact preferred.

Even Coke admits it was one of the “most memorable marketing mistakes of all time.”

“The lesson for manufacturers is to be aware of how consumers may react and how that may affect the brand,” Lang said.

But the backlash didn’t bother Whittaker’s who said it was the third year they had produced Miraka Kirīmi, Whittaker’s Creamy Milk, with the label translated into te reo Māori to celebrate Te Wiki o te Reo Māori.

The only difference was that this year it was more widely available to customers, whereas before it was only available in more limited quantities through social media contests.

Bodo Lang says there are three types of consumers when it comes to brand switching.

Provided

Bodo Lang says there are three types of consumers when it comes to brand switching.

“Creamed Milk is one of our most popular flavors, with or without this special edition packaging, but we choose to celebrate Te Wiki o te Reo Māori in this way every year because we are a proudly neo-family family business. Zeelandese,” a Whittaker’s spokesperson said.

She said it was too early to comment on sales of the blocks, and whether sales of the rest of her range had increased.

“But for us, it’s not about sales. As a proudly New Zealand family business that makes all of our world-class chocolate in our only factory in Porirua, we are proud to celebrate Te Wiki o te Reo Māori.

In 2020, 2degrees and Spark supported Vodafone NZ’s use of te reo Māori after one of its customers complained that the company had changed its network operator ID to ‘Vodafone Aotearoa’.

Back To Top