South African Chain Reaches Out to Visually Impaired With ‘Braille Burgers’

susan krashinsky
Globe and Mail, Jan. 14, 2012

Advertising is such a visual medium – whether it’s 30-second spots on TV or the image
onslaught of outdoor billboards and street furniture – that blind and visually-impaired
consumers are, for marketers, often invisible.

But South African fast food chain Wimpy is bucking the trend with an unusual marketing
campaign: a Braille Burger.

Youtube video shows how it was done: a chef uses tweezers to gingerly arrange sesame seeds, one
by one, on balls of dough to mimic the bumps of the Braille code. What resulted was
a message baked right into the burger bun, customized for the diner who can read Braille: “100 per cent pure beef burger made for you.”

The team behind the campaign then took 15 burgers to three local organizations for
the blind – Blind SA, Braille Services, and Louis Braille House.

The video is a delight to watch as those who volunteered for a nosh burst out laughing
upon discovery that their food is talking to them.

The campaign was aimed at “letting people know that Wimpy is a place where everyone
can feel at home,” explained the video, which was posted on YouTube by Dale Mullany,
the art director behind the campaign, from agency MetropolitanRepublic.

Blind SA released a statement praising the campaign on Friday. According to a rough
translation, it pointed out that Wimpy has printed menus in Braille and distributed
them on a national basis since 2002, but that not everyone was aware of it.

Blind SA participated in the campaign, and in its statement praised the company for sending
a message that the blind are an important target market for all advertisers.

The quick-service restaurant chain kicked off a television campaign this week as well, debuting ads on Wednesday to promote the Braille menus, South African newspaper The New Age reported. The campaign got attention in Braille newsletters and online discussion forums,
and the agency claims its research shows the message reached more than 800,000 visually-impaired
people. (According to 2006 data, there are more than 300,000 blind people in South

“For people who use their hands as their eyes, this is the first time they could do more than just taste their food,” the online video explained, “they could see it.”

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