Ice cream names cause debate - are the names racist or Nazi codewords?

GB Glace launched a new flavor of a classic ice-cream the other week, and were promptly accused of racism.

The ice-creams unfortunate name is "Nogger Black" as it is a liquorice flavored version of the classic nougat-flavored "Nogger".

A couple of years ago they made a liquorice version of the 88. It had a crunchy outside, liquorice and vanilla inside and was really quite good. However, it failed to become popular and was discontinued. This year GB decided to try their luck with a liquorice version of another classic ice-cream, the nougat covered vanilla and then soft nougat center ice-cream called Nogger.

Their first mistake was to make the outside salt liquorice... Ugh! I don't think this one will be as popular as the liquorice 88, but I might be wrong.
Their second mistake was to name it Nogger Black.

My guess is that with a name like that - which has an English word in it - someone was bound to recognize that if one replaces the "o" in Nogger with another vowel...... You could spell out a word considered quite nasty in English and not used at all, unless you are a rapper.

I don't know what was wrong with the 100% Swedish language names like "Nogger lakrits" or perhaps "Nogger svart", but they were clearly rejected in favor of the cooler-sounding "Nogger Black" which is getting GB into deep deep trouble.
Soon the Ice cream giant was slammed for "racist" ads as the Center Against Racism issued a press release denouncing the new ice-cream. Perhaps the Center Against Racism has very little to do.

"We're not critical of the color of the ice cream or the name 'Black' but the whole concept of the advertisement," said Amina Ek of the Center Against Racism to Svenska Dagbladet.

The ad itself features a heart drawn in white 'chalk' on a blackboard type background with the words "Nogger + lakrits = sant!" (Nogger + liquorice = true) inside, mimicking the hearts drawn by young couples everywhere.

I've tried really hard to figure out what is offensive about this ads "whole concept", shown below. Remember it's not the color of the licorice, nor is it the name that offends according to Ms Ek's quote above. Hmmm.

Nogger Black
"Nogger + Black = Sant"

No sooner had the storm over the licorice Nogger calmed down when the Anti Discrimination Bureau in Malmö Aftonbladet (Swedish only) decided to up the ante and attack the classic GB ice-cream called "88" because it is clearly connected to Nazis.

Yes, Nazis.

See, "88" stands for "Heil Hitler" in modern Nazi-parlance apparently, as "H" is the 8th letter of the alphabet.

Nevermind that the 88 ice-cream is much older than the newly invented code-language for Nazis, and nevermind that hardly anyone knows the 88 code unless they are a modern Nazi (not even the English version of the Wikipedia does, though the Swedish version does).

According to a spokesperson from GB the 88 first appeared way back in 1964. Right, so now I'm confused... If the old 88:an is a Nazi ice-cream, and Nogger Black is a racist ice-cream what did last years licorice 88 really mean?

For the ice-cream nostalgic here's a little history linked to the old posters.

In 1973 this ice-cream price-board shows the "88:an". 88:an means "the eighty-eight".

In 1975 88:an was joined by a strawberry-flavored friend, called 89:an. The 89 wasn't quite as popular and was discontinued a couple of years later.

"Nogger" a hip 70s slang way of saying "nougat" appeared in 1978 and has been a fail-safe summer ice-cream hit ever since. The Nogger features a crispy nougat outside, vanilla ice-cream inside and a soft nougat center that melts in your mouth.

Now considered a classic, the Nogger is not likely to be discontinued.


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Dabitch's picture

Ah yes! That is true. And how could I forget gems like the Poo Tofu Stick?

Dabitch's picture

What was most amusing was the comment by the chairman of the Center Against Racism: (roughly paraphrased) "There is a chance that GB is not racist".
Do not forget that this ridiculous organisation is funded by the government. So much for the importance of healthcare, education and public safety.

James Trickery's picture

This story won't have a happy ending ever. It doesn't matter how long you've called nougat "Nogger" once one idiot calls it a racist thing to say, it becomes a racist thing to say.

Dabitch's picture

As deep.ed and others have pointed out, the organization that reported this ice-cream name as racist - Centre against Racism - aren't exactly doing any good and this storm might have been a desperate attempt for them to pretend like they were actually doing something to prevent racism.

In the newspapers today there's a story about this useless org here at SVD headlines: Fight against racism expensive fiasco where they outline how the centre spends their 8,3 million SKR on office-space, hotels, travels, and restaurant dinners but have failed to do any research or reports about about racism.

Ther are no concrete ideas about what one wants to do, says a former board member. We made key rings and erasers [with our logo], but nothing more substantial. We couldn't spend all our money because we really didn't have any activities against racism.

The article writer also points out: ""I år har CMR satsat stort på en kampanj mot lakritsglassen Nogger Black, en insats som har kritiserats mycket." - "This year Centre Against Racism have worked hard on a campaign against the ice-cream Nogger Black, which has been highly criticized."

Benito Miguel at the Immigration Institute was part of the group that created Centre Against Racism. These days he's very critical:
- "The Centre Against Racism have basically not done anything at all. The campaign against Nogger Black was only to hide their non-working."

Dabitch's picture

Well Congratulate the Center Against Racism, they got all the press they could muster out of this with Slate writer Timothy Noah comparing it to the Moolatto of last year. MooLatte, Bested. Please welcome an even more race-baiting ice cream product.

Not even when it's paired with a word that's one letter away from the most toxic racial epithet in the English language? "We certainly had no intention that the name, 'Nogger', would be associated with any negative word." This statement makes me want to summon a wide-eyed, rage-shaken, and magnificently dignified Sidney Poitier, circa 1966, to answer, "The word ... is Noggro!"

I'm sorry that our language offends, Timothy.
You should see how wide-eyed the Danes in this office get when I offer to "bounce ideas around" (Bolla) with them. While bolla means "to throw a ball back and fourth" in Swedish it means "to fuck" in Danish. Hilarity ensues. "Lets fuck some ideas around!" No wonder us Swedes have that sexay reputation. ;)
The Slate comments don't let Timothy go unchecked.

* Pointing that "a word [is] one letter away from the most toxic racial epithet in the English language" makes zero sense when you stop to think that they don't speak English in Sweden. Even if your only cultural exposure to that Scandinavian county is the Muppets you should pick up on that. But even in English, "one letter off" does not equal the same word. "Niggardly" sounds far closer to the word in question than does "Nogger"; does Mr. Noah desire to banish that word from the English language?

Since the new Nogger is black in two places (look at the picture) does it not make sense to add "black" to the name? You know, the word black can be used without a reference to race

kurtberengeiger's picture

After all the publicity, GB has decided to launch a new flavor of ice cream cone. The "CoConut Cone".
Lucky for their hidden agenda that the Swedish language uses more K's than C's...

kurtberengeiger's picture

I'm beginning to feel oppressed by your comments on salt licorice. I may have to contact the Association of United Licorice Lovers and ask that they write a press release and hold a press conference about this abominable treatment... And if the timing is right, you know that they'll get lots of unwarranted media space

claymore's picture

Hmm... I was seeing more along the lines of a tasty mocha lipstick kiss in that first picture of the 88... if it's an icy nazi vagina instead, well... then I'm staying the hell away from my grocer's freezer.

silver3's picture

I'm offended by the obvious

vagina in the 88's bite.

Dabitch's picture

Worse! salt licorice! ugh ugh ugh!!!!!

Neo's picture

Honestly, Amina should be ashamed of herself.

Robblink's picture

I'm more shocked by the ice cream's flavor....licorice? That's nasty!

Dabitch's picture

Nyhetstorka = Newsdraught. Basically a dumb story like this only survives when nothing else is happening.

Sure, Nogger might look crazy for people who speak English, just like Bite Sale looks naughty for those who speak French - good thing we speak Swedish in Sweden huh? The Dutch word for notepad can make a juvenile English-speaker crack up as "notitie" really sounds like "no tittie", and many American tourist have laughed hard at a Dutch banks name as Rabobank sounds like "rob a bank". Good thing we don't all speak English or we'd never have this much fun.

Neo's picture

How many Swedish adgrunts are there? I have a feeling you guys are getting more out of this insane story than I am. kgeiger, what is nyhetestorka?
For us English speaking folk that "Nogger" name just looks crazy.

kurtberengeiger's picture

There's only one word that can describe this circus: nyhetstorka.

shmulikber's picture

Right, yes that was quite pathetic.

At first I really wanted to see the silver lining and thought "gee, isn't it great that there is so little actual racism in Sweden these days that Center Against Racism has to invent bogeymen where there are none." Alas, cynicism kicked backed in and I realize that this is only proof of the incredible stupidity and inefficiency that hampers all government funded organizations, and a demonstration of the chairmen and other spokes peoples desperate lack of media training. How on earth can they be in these positions and say such shortsighted things, I wonder.

deeped's picture

Well. I don´t think this is total stupidity - more of a very frustrated PR-stunt by Center Against Racism. How come? Well - a week ago the media-hunt was on the organizations inability to do anything and there was a discussion about quarrels and stuff inside the board of CAR.

So, it seem rather as a bad PR-stunt by Amina Eek and the others to make the money come from the government.

Doug in Jax's picture

Nogger is most certainly racist.

However, I have it on good authority that “Nogga” is OK.

cassius's picture

Of course they are. If they sold either or, okay, coincidence. But the same company is pushing Nogger AND 88

kidsleepy's picture

Why would a very large ice cream distributor with zero history of racism in its seventy plus years all of a sudden drop a huge double whammy of white power on an unsuspecting public? Also this ad is ten years old

Dabitch's picture

And, as noted in the article the 88:an is from 1973 so that name is over 40 years old. TINFOIL OFF.

As noted in a previous comment, it's very likely "Center Against Racism" need to be seen "doing something" to justify their budget, and this was an easy way of getting into the paper.

gabriel's picture

88 is a number​ of infinite numbers. I could say my dad is 88 years old and then, I'm a nazi?! Or if I called my ice cream 911 before it happened then it would be banned or something or they would call me a terrorist?!

fairuse's picture

Had to see what the fuss was about in April 2005. Never give a government employee a reason to soapbox when budget review is hanging over their head.

Seems batshit crazy to have 24 hour, millisecond response when something is not felling right -- the feds included. (insert Tim Minchin you tube video "Prejudice" Subtitle ginger song by me)

What I don't get is salt on ice cream. Wife loves salty flavors.

I'm not smart enough to speak on language and product names -- You know how many $ goes down the drain global proofing that brand new Camay Toyota car. Sorry Procter & Gamble.

John Doe's picture

This is ridiculous.

Glenn A's picture

Racism can only be what you actually think, rather than what words you pick.

If they did have a secret message, it was probably to make fun of those ”anti racists” who attempt to control peoples language. That in itself would not be racism, on the contrary it is tolerance.

Rene Lodal's picture

So, why am I not surprised? Another Swede getting out of bed, just to hate her self because she is white. And desperately spending all day to find tings she (...on others behalf) can be intimidated by.

Sweden, oh my god...

Dabitch's picture

First, this article is from 2005. You're free to google who was on the board of Centrum mot rasism back in 2005 if you're super interested in their genetic makeup. Just note that this Swede didn't get out of bed that day to do anything but laugh at the idiocy of this. And then I thought "Gee, that's so dumb I need to write an article about it," so while Slate and other Anglo media really fell for the "Nogger" part hook line and sinker, I could at least show you that this ice-cream brand name is a well-established one here in Sweden, and doesn't resemble a Swedish slur at all. You know, the language spoken in Sweden.

To put it all into perspective, as Deep.ed pointed out this was a PR-stunt, because earlier the Centrum mot rasim was accused of wasting resources and not getting anything done. They had received 14 million SEK to do stuff but had nothing to show for it other than internal conflicts.

Dick Mombasa's picture

This is the dumbest thing I've ever read but makes me realize that instead of creating certain groups have been busy trying to tear things down for decades instead.