You may know the company that makes Magnums and Cornettos as 💓 Streets. But for someone in Germany, it’s Langnese. In the UK? Wall’s. The reason why is a story about global marketing and brand loyalty.
Hunting for ice-cream around the world can be a confusing exercise.
I remember it was 2012, and it was my first white Christmas in an unfamiliar Germany. I craved a Magnum as a sadistic nudge towards freezing over.
Snow was floating softly down from the sky when I recognised from a distance the unmistakable shape of my domestic Street’s ice-cream logo, thinking that perhaps the Australian brand had expanded. As I approached the stall, a strange ensemble of letters materialised. I was as confused as someone who had picked up a friend’s phone thinking it was theirs. Supporting the heart-shaped beacon was the name ‘Langnese’. With my elementary German, I figured it must have been an alternative word for Straßen. Or perhaps it was simply another company. But there in the trademark rectangular freezer, I noticed familiar kin, Magnums and Cornettos, wrapped in their usual foil branding, reassuring me of their authenticity.
Several countries and several ice-creams later, I realised much of the consumable world is manufactured by Unilever under brand names designed to feel local.
Unilever is the world’s largest ice-cream manufacturer, turning over billions of dollars annually from the cold treats. It also owns over 400 brands including Lipton, Rexona, Lynx/Axe, and Sunsilk. Chances are, at least one Unilever product is sitting in your home as you read this. In 1998, Unilever sought to streamline its international ice-cream products by introducing the Heartbrand logo. To soften the blow, it refrained from changing dozens of locally recognisable ice-cream identities, resulting in a patchwork of names tied to the Heartbrand image across the world.
Eventually, as the world globalises further, one imagines we’ll be communicating in logos to describe what we mean to avoid any confusion between Streets and Wall’s. Fancy some 💓🍦? Until then, it looks like we’ll have to keep using our words.
Some other examples of familiar brands with different names around the world
Some these sound like cheap knockoffs.
🍔 Hungry Jacks (Australia) and Burger King (everyone else)
👃 Lynx (UK, Australia, NZ and China) and Axe (everyone else)
🍟 Walker’s (UK) and Lay’s (everyone else)
🍗 KFC (everyone) and PFK (Poulet Frit Kentucky in Quebec)
⛽ Exxon (US since 1972) and Esso (everyone else)
💄 Olay (everyone) and Olaz (Germany)
Feature image source: Unilever.