Did we offend the Norwegians by calling the bear "Nippy"?

My office works closely with several Norwegian entities (companies, local gov’ts, etc.) and we recently had a ground-breaking ceremony over there. Our program manager brought our travel mascot “Nippy” the stuffed polar bear along. Nippy’s name is a derivative from our program acronym, NPP/NPOESS (pronounced “En Pee Pee” and “En Pose”), and also a pun on the word “nippy” for “cold” ('cause he’s a polar bear). We bring him to all of our major long-distance travel meetings and put a pin on his jacket from that place.

This is the third time he’s been to Norway, and when the program manager explained Nippy to the audience (mostly Norwegian engineers and dignitaries) there were some awkward chuckles. The program manager seemed to think he had possibly offended them.

So: does “Nippy” mean something quasi-offensive in Norway, or are polar bear jokes perhaps taboo? Hjelp Mje!

Speaking as a Norwegian: No.

The word doesn’t mean anything, nor does it resemble any other potentially offensive word, nor are polar bears considered particularly sacred around here. Nor are we easily offended.

I suspect the awkward chuckles may be because many Norwegians would find a stuffed polar bear named Nippy a little, well, silly. Especially when “explained” by an American business guy. At least I know I would.