The goal of many food commercials is to trigger physical sensations like taste and smell by using the association of sight and sound. Making people feel moved by the faux-burgers they see on the screen so they swing through a drive-through next time they are out is a tried-and-true technique.
Burger King’s latest Brazilian ad finds a unique way to showcase those senses while also promoting inclusion for people with disabilities. Ad agency David SP in São Paulo cast Eduardo, a blind man, to describe the sandwiches through touch.
His descriptions bring the burgers to life as he calls the double cheddar a “cheddar explosion” and describes the buns as “soft sesame bread.” Additionally, the 30-second spot allows Eduardo’s personality to shine, including a couple of lines that may turn some heads.
Arguably the most important part of this ad is the beginning. The audio description at the beginning sets the scene for visually-impaired viewers. This is a permanent service on Secondary Audio Programming, or SAP, which helps people get an idea of the visual cues happening during a show. For this ad, BK instead opts to make the audio description a primary feature. Additionally, captions throughout the ad are in place to help those with hearing issues.
In the United States, audio scene-setting is handled by Descriptive Video Services, which is also the common term for the technique. The company has been providing audio settings for hit shows since it was founded in 1990, but the audio description was always relegated to the secondary broadcast. This ad marks the first time in Brazilian TV history that the audio description is part of the primary broadcast.
Not only does this help align the company with its message of inclusion, but it’s also an effective way to grab attention at the beginning of the ad.
“[The campaign] shifts your perspective on people with visual disabilities, and we hope this does the same with our audience,” said Rafael Donato, David SP’s Creative VP. “Although blind, Eduardo doesn’t see his disability as a handicap. Quite the opposite: He’s the type of guy who can laugh at himself and enjoys a good laugh, like every good Burger King lover.”
“We constantly strive to make everyone feel that they belong, feel they are free to be who they are, with respect for individualities,” added Ariel Grunkraut, marketing and sales director for Burger King Brazil.
Burger King champions diversity through slogans like “We welcome everyone” and initiatives like 2018’s attack on the gender discriminatory “pink tax.” But the company appears not to be totally on top of it. The brand’s official “Diversity and Inclusion” page on the BK website lists an email and phone number to call for diversity-related inquiries, but the phone number is disconnected.
While the increased representation for people with disabilities is laudable, and this is certainly no fault of David SP, not having a way for people to reach out appears to be a missed opportunity for Burger King.