Fanta belongs to Coca-Cola, an enormous multinational company with an advertising budget that dwarfs some countries' GDPs. But despite all that cash, it still occasionally drops a clanger, and the latest campaign from Fanta is causing some bemusement.
The brand has decided that the act of drinking Fanta while consuming a snack deserves its own word in the dictionary in India. It wants people in India to call this Fnacking. It's not going to make our pick of the best print adverts.
Time to have a #Fnacking party 🥐🤤What’s a #Fnack recipe your friends love 🧡#Fanta #Fnacking pic.twitter.com/IPXG7co9fwJuly 29, 2023
The word is awkward to say (and the campaign is running in India, a country with many languages) but more crucially, the whole premise is pretty much doomed. New words, including those that reference a brand, tend to emerge spontaneously; not through brands officially proposing them (such as 'tweet', which Musk is going to struggle to stop people using despite the Twitter rebrand as X).
Thirdly, the proposed portmanteau isn't something that can be unique to Fanta. I mean, if we're to going to use the term 'fnacking', then if we have a cola (or even a coffee) with a snack we'd have to call it 'cnacking'. If we opt for a Sprite, I'd be... er... snacking. Finally, Fanta, through an unfortunate quirk of fate, begins with the letter 'F', which makes it the worst possible soft drinks brand to incorporate into a portmanteau with a work that includes a 'ck'.
Over on Twitter, people are tweeting (or maybe 'fweeting' if they're also consuming at Fanta as they write) their incredulity. "Ew. Is this real?" one person asked. "No words. This isn’t even GenZ-speak," BrandGully tweeted. "Brands trying to make their own words might be the most embarrassing thing ever. It’s really hard to execute," was another verdict.
We should recognise that there are no doubt some linguistic subtleties at work here that we're not aware of, and it seems 'fnack' may be a play on words in Hindi. But many in India have been poking fun at the campaign too, with one person on Instagram asking "What do you call it when you puke Fanta?"
Some have suggested the campaign is supposed to be tongue in cheek, though it would signal the adoption of an uncharacteristic deadpan irony in Fanta's tone of voice. Others suggest that since we're talking about the campaign, it's working, but I'm not fuying. I might even start a foicot. For more advertising inspiration, see our pick of the best billboard advertising.