Burger King KSA Pushes Localization With New Arabic Alphabet Letter

Burger King Saudi Arabia has something to say about how you pronounce its name, and it’s both funny and relatable.

Since July, the international burger brand has been playing around with a funny and very localized issue that has caused the brand some grief apparently in primarily Arabic speaking countries such as Saudi Arabia. The brand has decided to accept and embrace its flaw by tackling the issue head on.

When brands popup in foreign countries with different languages, it’s very common for some tweaks to happen to the brand’s name to ensure it’s relatable, memorable and understandable in the country’s cultural or language context.

For Burger King, who has been in KSA for many years, they’re apparently been struggling with how people pronounce their brand’s name!


Replies to the ad brought out many people’s inner-Grammar Nazi.


Later on, the brand launched a full ad in response to comments.


Burger King Plays With The Arabic Alphabet

Almost a month later, the brand released its solution by introducing a new “nekta” or dot to the now-infamous “Gem” character/letter to stress on the letter harder to make the Arabic translation closer to the international pronunciation.

And it looks like it’s working! BK’s announcement tweet already included the new additional dot, and the brand has now included it on its verified Twitter account handle. In a week, the tweet has received 720K+ views.

This is not the first time that a brand in the GCC market has experimented with the Arabic language. Last year’s Dubai Lynx Gold Lion award for Brand Experience and Activation was handed to Babyshop for their brand new “equal” translation for the word parenthood, which had previously only included nods to fatherhood, by creating a new word that included both Mother and Father in the translation.

BK’s bid to further localize and integrate its brand into the KSA or GCC market is both a strong tactic and a brave move, as playing with a country’s native language is usually frowned upon.

However, as a brand, this is a particularly ingenious move that will allow it to increase brand recognition for people who travel outside of KSA, unlike competitor Hardees which is called Carl’s Jr in many countries.



J. Walter Thompson KSA

Rayyan Aoun – ECD

Ahmad Shanaa – Senior Art Director

Bashar Dababna – Art Director

Abdalahadi Tulimat – Junior Art Director

Abualaziz Almutiri – Copywriter

Karim Baker – Business Director

Abduallah Issa – Account Manager

Aladdin Abbas – Social Media Director

Joe Abo Daher – Head of TV production

Wael Al Madni – TV Producer

MIS/NOJARA – Production House

Director – Aziz Al Jassmi

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