Have you ever done something stupid, collectively? I have.
I mean, we have.
We’re a bunch of Indonesian students who traveled together to Düsseldorf, Germany. The day was a little bit chilly, but we decided that we should have an ice cream. How can we skip the ice cream? We’re in Germany and we want to truly experience it by having its super premium ice cream; the Häagen–Dazs!
So there we were, happily enjoying the sweet taste of Germany. We can find the ice cream in some big cities in Indonesia, of course, but isn’t it more fun to have it in its native country? It’s like having a Viennese Apfelstrudel in Vienna or a Belgian beer in Belgium. This is a story we can share to our friends and families back home, so we thought.
Years went by, until one day I watch a rather old PBS documentary called An Ice Cream Show. The narrator introduced us to Reuben and Rose Mattus, the Jewish polish immigrant who established the Häagen-Dazs in the Bronx, New York.
Yes, Häagen-Dazs was first established in the Bronx and then the couple opened their first Häagen-Dazs store in Brooklyn. In the United States of America, far away from Germany!
So why did all of us in the group think that Häagen-Dazs was from Germany? Undoubtedly, it must be from the name. Reuben and Rose Mattus chose the name Häagen-Dazs because it sounds Scandinavian to the American ears. They thought that Scandinavian countries are known for its dairy products, thus making the ice cream to be more appealing to the Americans. So they came up with these fake words (which certainly made a unique name). In the marketing world this trick is known as foreign branding, which is the use a foreign-sounding name to imply the superiority of the product.
Oh. That awkward moment when you realize that you’ve been totally fooled by a fake Scandinavian-sounding name.
But wait…. Germany is not even part of the Scandinavian countries. That means we would’ve looked less stupid now if we had thought that Häagen-Dazs was from either Denmark, Norway or Sweden.
Once again, why Germany? Whose idea was that? I don’t know, but I know now that what we did in that Häagen-Dazs cafe in Düsseldorf was a super premium stupidity, lol!!
Image credit: Aleksandra K, Yelp User.