Puns are great. Working in the creative field, you’ve got to love a good pun.
But sometimes, they just don’t turn out the way you hoped they would. Maki-San, a restaurant that allows patrons to design their own sushi and Japanese-inspired salad, has recently been shoved into the spotlight for a pun which unfortunately didn’t sit well with the public.
To commemorate this year’s National Day theme #OneNationTogether, Maki-San unveiled its latest chicken char siew sushi roll, the “Maki-Kita”. The sushi roll was part of a collaboration with Spectra Secondary School and was meant to reflect the “cheeky and playful side” of Maki-San and was a “tongue-in-cheek” take on the first two words of the national anthem.
While there were good intentions behind the pun, netizens quickly pointed out that the phrase “Maki Kita” meant “Curse us” in Malay. In an Instagram post that has since been deleted, some netizens jokingly cursed the restaurant while others ridiculed at the error. Others called out Maki-San for its lack of cultural diversity in the office.
Since then the restaurant has apologised “sincerely” for any offense caused on Facebook and Instagram, and changed the name of the sushi roll from “Maki-Kita” to “Harmony Kita” to be “more sensitive to the culture of [its] Malay consumers”.
We do acknowledge the diversity of culture of our consumers and the people living in Singapore. We listened to the pulse and insights driven from our valued consumers. With this, our team has decided to change the name of the product, to be more sensitive to the culture of our Malay consumers. While we only meant well for this, our deepest respect goes to all our friends. We sincerely apologise if this has offended any of you. #makisan #rollwithmakisan
Marketing has reached out to Maki-San for further comment.
Maki-San is not the only brand to have found itself in a sticky situation. Giordano also recently drew flak for the lack of ethnic representation in its National Day advertisement. The ad features a family with two Caucasian adults, a Caucasian boy and an Asian girl. The reaction to the shirts online were negative, with netizens criticising the ad for not only the lack of ethnic representation, but also the poor use of photoshop.
What do you think of Maki-San’s latest marketing tactic?
(Photo courtesy: Maki-San)