Onfire Design cracks one of the world’s toughest markets

Breaking into the Saudi Arabian market isn’t for the faint of heart, but that’s exactly what Auckland-based branding agency Onfire Design achieved when it secured a lucrative rebranding contract for Fakieh Poultry Farms. The Saudi Arabian giant undertook a worldwide search for the right design agency, and chose Onfire to deliver its biggest ever rebrand. 

The journey began in 2021, when Onfire Design received an email from a client, advising them of the rebranding plans for a “very traditional business” moving fast with innovation and needing to rebrand to match its current aspirations.

“We are mandated to locate the top five global agencies in branding and you are clearly on that list,” the email said.

“In terms of deliverables, everything was on the table – brand strategy, tone of voice, brand identity, packaging design and food photography,” says Onfire Design Managing Director, Sam Allan.

“The brand had been virtually unchanged since the 1960s, so we needed to bring it up to date for an increasingly complex and sophisticated Arabic market.” 

The year-long project saw the agency working closely with Fakieh in Saudi Arabia as they took a deep dive into the culture, history and consumer habits of the region. 

For millions of families throughout the Arab region, chicken is the number-one source of protein, but before Fakieh’s establishment in 1967, premium-grade fresh poultry was available only to higher socioeconomic groups.

The company changed that, introducing a wider range of products priced for the mainstream customer. It’s now seen as both a democratising brand and a true local hero. 

“In market, there is a lot of goodwill for the brand, and relevance, especially with the recent influx of big international brands and the growth of other local brands,” says Allan, “but as a brand, Fakieh has lacked investment in brand, packaging and communications.” 

The company was inspired by the Saudi government’s strategic initiative Vision 2030, which is a call to action for all businesses to grow and diversify the economy, strengthen Islamic national identity and offer a fulfilling and healthy life for the Saudi population.

Along with the current retail market, this was the impetus for Fakieh to refresh its brand and positioning across
all touchpoints.

Fakieh project leader Tuba Terekli says the decision to go offshore for the assignment was for privacy reasons and to source the best design agency in the world that could handle such a transformation.

“It was indeed a year well spent. We took a 65-year-old brand and brought it forward to the Saudi Arabia of now.” 


“Led by the ideas of innovation, fit for the future of the country, general health and pride in Saudi culture, we developed a new positioning of ‘We See Potential’,” says Allan.

“The rebrand was intended to make a lifelong connection with modern Saudis, appreciating the brand history while fuelling them with nutritious food and support so they can reach their full potential.”

The new brand was treated as a revolution, with the previous brand incarnation devoid of relevant assets to build and evolve from. Together with the team at Fakieh, Onfire created a new brand positioning, one that demonstrated empathy for today’s consumer while being future focused for Saudi society.

The campaign was spearheaded by the agency’s Creative Director Matt Grantham, one of New Zealand’s most internationally lauded designers. 

“The wordmark is a radical redesign, workshopped with English and Arabic typographers to develop
a bespoke lockup,” says Allan.

“The new wordmark is a standard-bearer – we developed a dual language lockup that reflected its past while being the trustworthy, humble and compassionate brand to follow in the future.

“The traditional Arabic script was crafted to sit on top of Fakieh, mimicking a crown and the comb of a chicken. Subtle nods to chickens were also built with beak-like shapes in both parts of the device.” 

The new colour system is simple and iconic, dominated by a deep, rich blue inspired by architectural painting on doors and window framing, and used extensively in textiles and local fashion. Secondary colours give the brand a sense of place – hints of gold, sandstone and light blue taken from the location and historical buildings. 

A brand pattern informed by traditional mats and rugs with strong connections to family gatherings and food sharing was developed using simple icons ranging from chicken-feed grain to meal ingredients.

It was designed to be used across all consumer-facing touchpoints.

“The key visual asset is a new historical icon, with chicken at the centre,” says Allan.

“The importance of this is paramount for this heritage brand.” 

Sam Allan, managing director of Onfire Design

The result is a brand inspired by its heritage and looking to modern Saudi families’ future health and diets.

Testament to the high level of creativity and craft at Onfire, Fakieh recently won an award at New Zealand’s Best Design Awards, as well as a gold and three silver awards at the World Brand Design Society Awards in the UK.

“We couldn’t be prouder of the result,” says Allan. “Matt Grantham and the team have demonstrated our credentials as a specialist branding and packaging- design company capable of working with any brand, anywhere in the world.”


But it’s not all about pretty pictures, says Allan.

“Clients seek us out because of our track record to ignite brands and increase sales. Doing commercially successful work is what gets us out of bed every morning. Both Matt and I learned the ropes in the UK and we’ve been building here in Auckland for close to 20 years. Now we’re finally seeing clients make a shift away from older agencies to more nimble teams like ours that offer better returns.”

Onfire has been listed as one of the top 10 most creative agencies by the World Brand Design Society for five years running. As well as being specialist FMCG branding and packaging designers, they work with clients on strategy, tone of voice, websites, content and more.

They’ve worked with a range of industries – FMCG, marine and outdoors, agriculture and manufacturing, and beyond – for clients in New Zealand, Australia, Thailand, China, the US and now the Middle East.

From breakfast cereal to snacks, beauty products to RTDs, dairy to pet food, you’d be hard pressed to find a category the team hasn’t covered. 

Since their humble beginnings above a barber shop in Auckland’s Birkenhead, the team has worked hard to earn every client and every piece of work, says Allan.

“That work ethic is in our DNA. On top of being an incredibly talented team, everyone puts in the hard yards.”

Back in Saudi Arabia, how does Fakieh Poultry Farms judge the project’s success? Terekli is thrilled with the result.

“I feel so proud to walk into our local supermarkets and see it on the shelves!”

For more info, visit weareonfire.co.nz.

This was first published in the March/April 2024 issue

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