Alcoholic ginger beer Ranga might have to change its name if it wants to stay on supermarket shelves.
Countdown confirms it has received customer complaints about the brand name and its connotations about redheads.
Ranga’s young creators Bevan Wait and Chris Durney say they hoped to make people with red hair feel better about themselves when they launched the drink in January.
“Ranga is a refreshingly feisty alcoholic ginger beer, best served cold over ice with a dash of lime and a couple of ginger-haired friends,” the description on the bottle says.
Ranga founder Mr Durney says sales have been going well at Countdown – its only retailer – since the supermarket started stocking it in June, but the negative customer feedback had been passed on.
“We wanted to have fun with the brand but I guess there’s always going to be a risk in this PC world that vocal minorities will take exception to it.”
Although it would be a shame to change the name, a rebrand was being considered in order to stay on the shelves, he says.
Countdown corporate affairs manager Luke Schepen says the supermarket raised the issue of a rebrand as a discussion point when the feedback was passed on, but there had been no formal request for the company to adopt a new name.
Ranga was still a relatively new product and customer feedback was something the supermarket would take into consideration long-term, he says.
Ranga is now appealing to its Facebook fans to help it find a new name.
“We've just been thrown a curve ball and we need your creative input,” the company writes on its Facebook page.
"Countdown have just informed us that there have been too many complaints about the name 'Ranga'. We have to come up with a new name, and pronto.
"We figured 637 heads is better than four, so if you come up with a great new name we can use, post it up on the page."
Supporters are overwhelmingly opposed to change:
Don't change the name!!! People need to get over themselves,” says one supporter.
“Tell them that, by their reasoning, Speights Old Dark is both ageist and racist,” says another.
And: “Looks like New Zealanders have forgotten how to have a laugh.”
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