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The unfortunate name of Russia’s new Nigerian venture

The unfortunate name of Russia’s new Nigerian venture

In May, FP and our readers enjoyed going through the many, many silly acronyms in use around the world, including PIIGS, STUC, MILF, and MANPADS. But last week’s agreement between Nigeria and Russia on a joint gas venture has a name that tops all of those for awkardness:

It probably seemed a good idea at the time. But Russia’s attempt to create a joint gas venture with Nigeria is set to become one of the classic branding disasters of all time — after the new company was named Nigaz.

The venture was agreed last week during a four-day trip by Russia’s president Dmitry Medvedev to Africa. The deal between Russia’s Gazprom and Nigeria’s state oil company was supposed to show off the Kremlin’s growing interest in Africa’s energy reserves.

Instead, the venture is now likely to be remembered for all the wrong reasons — as a memorable PR blunder, worse than Chevrolet’s Nova, which failed to sell in South America because it translates as “doesn’t go” in Spanish[…]

An article in Brand Republic pointed out the obvious: that the name has “rather different connotations” for English-speakers.

Stan Marsh sympathizes.

DMITRY ASTAKHOV/AFP/Getty Images