An editorial from Dubai's online business magazine, Kippreport.com, has taken Naked Pizza to task for changing its name for the market to N_K_D. After asking if the UAE is “really a country so sensitive we can’t use the word ‘naked,’” author Samuel Potter polled readers and came up with “only” 29 percent who thought it “totally wrong.”

The poll led the author to extrapolate on the rebranding’s real cause:

But I think this has less to do with the sensitivity of the UAE population than with that of another, more lucrative, market. It’s the only reasonable explanation for the move here in the UAE: Naked has bigger ideas. The huge and more conservative Saudi Arabian market is more likely the company’s ultimate target; tempering the Naked name now will save them a regional re-brand later on, when their expansion begins in earnest.

Naked Pizza's chief brand architect Robbie Vitrano isn’t worried about the half-slam, however. He thinks the concept will fit well into the region’s growing creative class, name and all.

“There are a number of acute issues in the U.A.E. that intersect that mission to the degree that we have met with the health ministry and business groups about issues of food supply, health, technology, communications as well as how corporations honor their social responsibility to communities … we think that bodes well for our success in the region and beyond,” Vitrano said. 

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