Sabra's new Super Bowl commercial for hummus dips did not impress Arabic-speaking viewers, mainly because of its unfortunate play on words that translates roughly to "how you do suck?"
?WOOOOOOOOOOO ?— Sabra (@Sabra) February 3, 2020
America, how do you ‘mmus? pic.twitter.com/xUalFHweWm
The commercial was shown during the second quarter of the popular annual event and featured 19 TV, film, internet, and music celebrities. Throughout the ad they all ask "How do you 'mmus?" in what is presumably an attempt to play on the word hummus in English.
But for Arabic speakers, it took on a whole different meaning. Many of them took to social media to break the news to Sabra and fans of its hummus that the word "'mmus" in Arabic means suck.
The ad slogan was therefore translated to "How do you suck?" which isn't only a marketing fail, but also a phrase with an inappropriate sexual connotation among Arabic-speakers.
Arabic speakers, who’s gonna tell them?— Rashid Abdulghaffar (@rashidghaffar92) February 3, 2020
I guess if Sabra was at all connected to the origins of Hummus & not just appropriating, they'd know "Muss" means SUCK in Arabic. #HowImmus— Andrew Kadi (@imAK48) February 3, 2020
The most surreal thing to happen to me was waking up today to find a bunch of Americans going 'how do you مص?'— Karl Sharro (@KarlreMarks) February 3, 2020
Some people suggested that it would have been a better idea for the popular hummus maker to consult people familiar with Arabic, considering its product has Arab roots.
Sabra is a US-based food maker mostly known for its Middle Eastern-style hummus. The company has often been accused of appropriating Middle Eastern hummus, especially that it offers a variety of unusual flavors of the chickpea dip including chocolate hummus.
Probably should have consulted an Arabic speaker before making مص your new slogan ? (Also, Americans, Sabra is objectively terrible hummus, buy a food processor and make your own) https://t.co/GpiAb84wBb— Gregg Carlstrom (@glcarlstrom) February 3, 2020
I want to congratulate @sabra for the greatest self own of the night.— Timothy E Kaldas (@tekaldas) February 3, 2020
"America, how do you 'mmus (مص)?" literally means "America, how do you suck?"
But don't worry, none of us suck as much as Sabra hummus.
Some people on line came to Sabra's defense, saying that the ad was targeting its US audience and not an Arabic-speaking one, citing this as the reason the Arabic translation wasn't taken into account while making the commercial.
I’m guessing Arabic-speakers aren’t Pepsi/Sabra’s target demographic for selling American hummus.— Roee Ruttenberg (@RoeeRuttenberg) February 3, 2020