I would bet a large sum (if I had such a thing…) on my suspicion that a lot of junior people both at the agency and at Tropicana tried to raise red flags and were crushed by “smart & stable genius” senior executives who merely argued that “we’re spending a vast amount of money doing this so it must be the right thing to do!”

Many years ago I had a friend who worked for the UK subsidiary of a major US food corporation. One of the products was white fish compressed into a ball and covered in batter, which the purchaser would then drop in to hot fat at home and then serve (though personally I think throwing the stuff into the trash would have been a more rational option). The US marketing agency hired to brand this product didn’t bother to do any research in the UK, nor any concept testing in the UK. They were, just, able to grasp the idea that calling the product “crunchy fish balls” wasn’t their best-ever play, but they went for something that in the UK was equivalent. It wasn’t until the UK subsidiary’s managing director heard his staff giggling uncontrollably while staring at the packaging mockup that the problem surfaced: BigFood (not the company’s real name….) Cod Pieces may have sounded fine and dandy to the good ol’ boys in New York State but in the UK everyone’s first association with “cod piece” is less to do with comestibles and far more to do with what sits below one’s belly.

Anyone who enjoys my articles here on Medium may be interested in my books Why Democracy Failed and The Praying Ape, both available from Amazon.