Ikea taps local Hokkien dialect in Penang to promote new store

To celebrate for the opening of its first store in Penang, Malaysia, Ikea is using the Hokkien dialect to to celebrate the local heritage in its campaign.

While the four major languages widely spoken in Penang are Malay, English, Chinese and Tamil, the second smallest Malaysian state is best known for its distinct Hokkien dialect, known as Penang Hokkien.

The campaign, created by BBH Singapore, uses parallel images like a chicken and a cabinet with the words “We are not Kay Kia. We are IKEA.” Kay Kia is the Hokkien word for chick. Another execution features a tall guy and the Billy bookcase with the lines “We are not Lo Kha Kia (a tall guy). We are IKEA.”

“We wanted to introduce IKEA to Penang with an engaging and relatable campaign that takes into account the unique cultural nuances of the city,” said Nigel Richardson, the head of marketing for Ikea in South East Asia.

“The new campaign has already created a lot of buzz and we hope to sustain the excitement through the second phase of the campaign.”

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