Ethics Dunce: Nutella

The latest ISIS plot?

                                                         The latest ISIS plot?

Remember the little deaf child named Gunner whose school wouldn’t let him sign his own name because of —EEEEEK! GUNS!!!!!—? The people at Nutella think like that school’s administrators.

Nutella offers customized jars of the filbert ick , but  refused to make a personalized jar for a 5-year-old  Australian girl because her name is “Isis.”

The girl’s aunt tried to buy five customized jars for her niece and nephew. The local store accepted her nephew’s name, Odhinn—-Now THAT name is offensive: it’s bad enough naming a poor kid after the head Norse god, but spelling it like that? — yet the manager refused to order jars for little Isis.

Nutella’s parent company Ferrero Australia “explained” that the requested label was denied because the name could be perceived as a reference to the Islamic State. Yeah, I can see that—because hazelnut butter jars are the obvious places for terrorists to advertise.

“Like all campaigns, there needs to be consistency in the way terms and conditions are applied,” the company said. “Unfortunately, this has meant there have been occasions where a label has not been approved on the basis that it could have been misinterpreted by the broader community or viewed as inappropriate.”

Listen, you censorious, arrogant, fearful dufuses, how exactly is a Nutella jar going to even be seen by “the broader community”? Who publicly displays their Nutella? I have literally hundreds of things in my house that my broader community would be horrified at, and it’s none of their damn business and none of yours. As for being viewed as inappropriate, you cowardly simps, the only one who has to see a Nutella jar as appropriate is the little girl who will see her name on the jar, and who smiles as a result.

This, you see, is why the United States is exemplary: its citizens don’t think this way.

Or didn’t used to.

I’m throwing out that Nutella jar in the cupboard, and it won’t be replaced.

It’s awful stuff anyway.

13 thoughts on “Ethics Dunce: Nutella

  1. I’ve never understood the appeal. You’ll often find crappy food that’s good for you, or great food that’s bad for you. This stuff is crappy food that’s bad for you. How do they do it?

  2. Let’s stick to all-American peanut butter.

    But just to play devil’s advocate here, would it have been possible for them to know that the orderer of the customized jars sincerely meant it for a child named Isis (not exactly a common name, though a good one)? From their point of view, what if it had been someone bent on humiliating the company by ordering the said jar and then posting it on social media? Such a scheme would be overly complicated (could just use Photoshop), but from the overly-cautious folks responsible for brand protection, it could be seen as a real threat. I think the outcome in this case may be moral luck. If the orderer of the jar HAD been a fraudster with a beef against Nutella (maybe they tried it on beef), the people who may end up being fired for refusing the order would have been fired for fulfilling it.

    • If you are going to be paranoid, don’t make offers like this: competence. Think of all the potentially offensive names that could be put on Nutella jars—better yet, ask Bart Simpson, Mo, or anyone who called out names at a House of Pancakes.

  3. Does no one else remember the retail that got dragged through the mud for refusing to make the Confederate Flag cake, but was OK printing the Daesh battle flag? That got wrote about on this blog. How about the guy who said his Vietnamese name was “Phuk Dat Bish” and was IRATE that Facebook continued to delete his accounts, and later said it was a hoax? How about “Victoria’s Victory” or the “catered” gay wedding Pizza?

    Retails are siding on the side of caution because they can’t assume the benevolence of their customers anymore. I don’t particularly like the trend, one too many got’cha moments and apparently the corporate weenie-ism comes out, but I at least understand it. And I’m not prepared to say they’re unethical.

  4. My Siberian Husky is named Isis. Lately, whenever anyone asks her name, they usually frown and make some snide comment. I remind them that the Egyptian goddess Isis (of wisdom, health and marriage) was around about 4,000 years before the current wackos in the Middle East were named. That usually brings their comments to an end.

    • The dog in Downton Abbey was named Isis. The spy organization Archer works for is named ISIS. There was a Saturday morning TV adventure show about a superheroine named Isis.
      No ISILs, though…

      • Funny you mentioned Archer, in season 5 (right around the time Daesh was starting to attract attention) ISIS in Archer was disbanded, and operated as a drug cartel in “Archer: Vice”. At the end of season 5, when they got their government contract back, the crew became a branch of the CIA. The creators specifically said they were dropping the organization name ISIS over because of the similarity to the terrorist organization.

        • Well, at least it was an organization. In that case, confusion was a real possibility—-this was a pretty violent intelligence group in a comedy; the ISIS connection would be off-putting, just as if it was called the KKK.

  5. “I have literally hundreds of things in my house that my broader community would be horrified at, and it’s none of their damn business and none of yours.”

    Given today’s political climate, I’m afraid that now I have to be preemptively offended on behalf of various special interest groups, who may or may not find your personal home to be a safe space.

    But don’t worry, you can fix that! I’ll get a list of demands together right away. I’m pretty sure I can do it without knowing what anyone might actually be offended by. (Everyone else seems to…)

  6. If Nutella (such icky stuff) is trying to push its product by “personalizing” jars of it for specific individuals, it is ridiculous to make judgements about such personalizations. What if some beknighted parent named his son “Adolph?” Would Nutella ban that, too, because of the negative (if historical) connotation? What is some perky Obama fan named her son “Barak?” Would that name — anathema to more than 50% of citizens according to recent polls — be either too controversial or some imagined infringment of the Obama presidential “brand?” It’s pretty pathetic that Nutella has to try to increase its sales by personalizing jars of its inedible product, but here they’re shooting themselves in the foot… twice.

    As an aside, why is it that if I stop in 7-11, e.g., and just want a single cold Coke as a treat, I have to pick between cans named for Jim, Mary, Sally, Bob, Fred, etc., etc. What kind of marketing technique is that? I need input on this one…

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