Nutella rejects personalised jar for five-year-old girl named Isis

"You are actually making my daughter's name dirty": Heather Taylor and her daughter Isis, 5.
"You are actually making my daughter's name dirty": Heather Taylor and her daughter Isis, 5. Photo: Supplied

Illawarra mother Heather Taylor is becoming accustomed to the odd looks, gasps and uncomfortable silences that accompany the mention of her daughter's name. Now she has suffered perhaps the ultimate indignity - being denied a personalised jar of Nutella.

Ms Taylor's sister tried to buy five personalised jars - which are labelled with the recipient's name - for her nephew Odhinn and her niece Isis from a Myer department store in Shellharbour.

Ms Taylor said both names were initially flagged as problematic by a computer. After some negotiation, Odhinn was deemed acceptable - but the store manager drew the line at Isis, an acronym commonly used to denote Islamic State.

Nutella said the personalised labels were intended to be a "fun and joyful" campaign.
Nutella said the personalised labels were intended to be a "fun and joyful" campaign. Photo: Supplied

Myer told Ms Taylor that Nutella had a protocol for acceptable names and directed her to Nutella's parent company, Ferrero Australia.

Ferrero chief executive Craig Barker personally contacted her the next day to stand by the company's position.

"I'm really quite upset by this," Ms Taylor told him. "You are actually making my daughter's name dirty. You are choosing to refuse my daughter's name in case the public refers to it negatively."

The Nutella campaign, which allows fans of the hazelnut spread to personalise a 750 gram or one kilogram jar, was launched in September. In a statement, Ferrero Australia confirmed the label in question was not approved for printing due to its sensitive nature. 

"Like all campaigns, there needs to be consistency in the way terms and conditions are applied," the company said. "Unfortunately, this has meant there have been occasions where a label has not been approved on the basis that it could have been misinterpreted by the broader community or viewed as inappropriate."

The campaign was intended to be used in "a fun and joyful way", the statement said.


Ms Taylor, 43, named her five-year-old daughter after the Egyptian goddess Isis, revered as a matriarch and friend of the disadvantaged. Her son Odhinn, 8, was named after a god in Nordic mythology.

ISIS (Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham) has come into common parlance only in the past two years, an alternative name for IS (Islamic State), Daesh or ISIL (the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant). The terrorist group has seized territory in both Syria and Iraq, uses brutal methods to rape, kill and pillage and has produced shocking videos that depict beheadings and other forms of torture.

Ms Taylor said she would not be in favour of putting the name "Hitler" on a jar of Nutella, but her case was different because she named her daughter before the rise of Islamic State, she said. She also has no intention of changing her daughter's name, and argues the name Isis needed to be reclaimed.

"This is an acronym that is used incorrectly by the media that Nutella are supporting," Ms Taylor said. "We need to be calling the Daesh death cult by their name, Daesh."

Unforeseeable though it may have been, the Taylor family are now dealing with the consequences of the unfortunate name choice. Ms Taylor has to shield her daughter from news reports, and regularly receives looks of disbelief in public places.

"I am starting to get to the point where I don't want to call her name out," she said. "Because she's going to start noticing people looking."

Ms Taylor also feels particularly aggrieved by a Woman's Day article published earlier this month, which ranked "Isis" as No.1 on a list of 12 baby names that should be criminalised.

"Everyone knows that Isis' mythology has been trumped by the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS), the group known for, among other things, beheading two journalists and a camera worker," the article suggested. "So, maybe don't go with Isis."

Oddly enough, "Nutella" was No.2 on the Woman's Day list of names that should be made illegal.