MALAYSIA – In a tongue-in-cheek response to the naming controversy surrounding its pretzel dog snack last week, Auntie Anne’s, seemingly not deterred, has announced a promotion for its jumbo cheese dogs on its Facebook page.
The promotion, posted on Sunday and tagged as “feeling positive”, has received a range of reactions on Facebook, including 1,400 likes and 187 “haha” as well as more than 990 shares to date. Netizens have also responsed in the comments section, with some of them voicing their support to Auntie Anne’s.
The Malaysian Islamic Development Department earlier recommended the pretzel franchise change the name of its “pretzel dog” to “pretzel sausage” in order to avoid "confusion" for Muslims (dogs are deemed unclean in Islam). The religious authority later backed down following a backlash from the public and denied that the presence of the word “dog” in the menu led to Auntie Anne’s failure to obtain halal certification.
How are we call a developed country when we have people that deem #PretzelDog non-halal because of the word dog? Somebody explain to me.— Zee Yoong (@thezieyiong) October 18, 2016
Pretzel Dog is a fine name.— Erna Mahyuni (@ernamh) October 18, 2016
Pretzel Sausage is just...misleading.
THE PRETZEL IS NOT MADE OF SAUSAGE /cry
Farhatul Kamilah, the quality assuarance officer in-charge of halal certifications at Chrisna Jenio said in her Facebook post that several names have been submitted to the Islamic authority pending approval. She has not responded to Campaign Asia-Pacific's queries on the latest status of Chrisna Jenio's halal application for Auntie Anne's. Chrisna Jenio currently operates 45 Auntie Anne's outlets in Malaysia.
The halal status weighs heavily in the consumption choices for Malaysia’s 18-million Muslim majority. As a prerequisite for the halal certification, fast food chain A&W dropped the “dog” in its Coney Dog and renamed frankfurter as “frank”. Its iconic root beer also suffered the same fate and has been renamed as “RB” on the menu since 2013. F&N’s non-alcoholic Ginger Ale was also renamed as “Ginger Ade”.
UPDATE I: In a subsequent post three days later, Auntie Anne's dropped the word "dog" from the promotion poster for its jumbo cheese dogs.
UPDATE II: On November 28, Auntie Anne's Malaysia confirmed that it has changed the name of the snack to "pretzel sausage" to comply with the requirements set by the halal authorities.