Burger King Indonesia hits the jackpot giving voice to silent

The COVID-19 pandemic impacted Burger King Indonesia in various contexts such as market, business, brand and culture. The pandemic also undoubtedly impacted Indonesia’s unemployment rate and business sales amongst other things. During such trying times, Burger King Indonesia aimed to encourage companies to hire differently-abled people and individuals to promote inclusivity. Here’s how Burger King won gold for Best CSR communication and Best PR campaign in the F&B sector at MARKETING-INTERACTIVE‘s PR Awards 2021. 


Amid the COVID-19 pandemic, Indonesia’s unemployment rate surged to its highest level since 2011, causing some 2.67 million people to lose their jobs. This situation has without any doubt been tough for all, in Indonesia and beyond, but it is hitting vulnerable groups particularly hard, including the mute and deaf community. While this community had already faced marginalisation before the pandemic, a tough economic environment further diminished their chances for gainful employment and participation in society.

The pandemic also hit businesses across the globe, including in Indonesia, with sales plummeting to an all-time low in many sectors. In October 2020, the Indonesia Hotel and Restaurants Association predicted that up to 30% of restaurants would close down as a result of phase II of the large-scale social restrictions in Jakarta. The pandemic has also hit Burger King Indonesia’s business, causing a 70% drop in dining-in sales, amid social restrictions to contain the spread of COVID-19.

Burger King Indonesia’s perception of an American fast-food joint alienates itself from its guests. The brand has a transactional relationship with its guests just being known for best beef burgers. The goal of the brand is to serve the guest like a king and create a place in their hearts of people by making a difference in the community that has helped them build the brand in the first place.

International Day of Disabled Persons, is a United Nations-sanctioned day, celebrated on 3 December. Despite a policy mandate in Indonesia for companies to hire at least 1% differently-abled people in the workforce, this is not met. Burger King Indonesia is a founding member of International Labour Organisation’s The Indonesia Business and Disability Network, a unique employer-led initiative that works to promote the inclusion of people with disabilities in workplaces nationwide.

With “no one should be left behind” as its mantra, Burger King had already hired more than 100 differently-abled employees in their stores. With the intention of creating a real difference across the community and understanding the business challenges, Burger King decided to use the opportunity of 3 December to give a voice to the silent with its campaign “#SunyiBersuara” (voice of the silent) encouraging the hiring and the inclusivity of differently-abled people. #SunyiBersuara was done together with &Friends Creative Agency, Edelman Indonesia and Zeno Indonesia.


#SunyiBersuara is an act for business and consumers to embrace an equal community that provides similar access and career options for the mute and deaf community in Indonesia. With the objective of encouraging companies to hire differently-abled people and individuals to promote inclusivity, Burger King decided to lead by example and address the challenges businesses and individuals face.

It addressed company pain points by taking on the following initiative. It led by example by establishing its credibility by hiring more than 100 deaf and mute crew members across its stores in Jakarta, Bali and Makassar. The profitability of these “special stores” is at par with the regular stores. Talking about this proof of concept to make companies understand that their business will not get affected. It also created a toolkit to share Burger King’s hiring process and government contacts to make this happen. There are stringent operational processes, all of which, need to be suited to differently-abled people. Burger King decided to provide companies with its own process so they could immediately start on their journey

It addressed individual pain points by taking on the following initiatives. Ordering in sign language across Burger King stores. This is a simple and effective way to familiarise people with sign language. Burger King also connected them with differently-abled communities so they can learn and practice sign language. People typically want to be inclusive, but they are limited in their approach and generally busy with their daily lives. According to Burger King, giving them an easy way to promote inclusivity will raise awareness and action.

The brand also addressed the deaf and mute community’s pain points by taking the following initiatives. It ensured that the community is given an opportunity to stand on their own feet, through empowerment and not charity. It also gave them a platform to voice their challenges. 


Based on the strategic actions identified, the campaign execution was planned in three phases – awareness, engagement, and action to achieve the objectives. The awareness objective was tackled through its open letter. It published an open letter, in English and Bahasa, on social media to seek support from companies to participate in the initiative. 

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The open letter mechanism worked well for business and consumers alike. By tagging key F&B brands, the intention was to create a conversation and get responses.

A video was also used to raise awareness. “A message from BK Crew” is a light-hearted video that addresses the main concern companies face while considering the hiring of differently-abled people. The video was done in a fun, slice-of-life style, and captured a day in the life of Debby – a deaf and mute crew member working in Bali Sunset Store. The video shows how Debby is just like the rest of us and can do anything, so let us consider hiring more like her. The video also helps address the consumer experience of being in a special store – to order in sign language, make payments and enjoy the service.

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Burger King also did a PR push through media relations, media kit document, media package and press release dissemination, to raise awareness. The media kit provided was done with the intention of bringing the campaign to life for them in the comfort of their homes since an actual event was not possible. It included a hard copy of the open letter, Sunyi Bersuara Whopper (the Whopper Packaging had Whopper written how you actually sign-it), and SunyiBersuara Crown, where you could sign:

I (insert your name) am Sunyi Bersuara (I, Paul, am the voice of the silent).

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The engagement and action phase was tackled through media interviews. Burger King proactively pitched and secured media interviews with the HR representatives, mute and deaf employees, and relevant communities to give in-depth details on how the program would bring benefits to companies and brands. Its website was also used during the engagement and action phase. “SunyiBersuara.id” while defining the purpose of the initiative, encouraged companies to signup to show their commitment and support.

Brand and individuals were encouraged to add a SunyiBersuara badge or change their logos in sign-language for which Burger King provided the sign-language fonts. The fonts were preapproved by the deaf and mute community.

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The engagement and action phase was also tackled through the engagement with the deaf and mute community to develop the campaign, ensure it is sensitive to people with all disabilities, and that it went a long way in showing support from a brand that genuinely wanted to make things right for them.


The campaign successfully created a stir, with companies, brands and individuals pouring in their support to build an inclusive society.

More than 90 companies signed up on Sunyi Bersuara to show their commitment/support to encourage hiring. There were over 100,000 website visits on The Voice of The Silent website during the campaign period coming from Indonesia, United States, Singapore, and 37 other countries. More than 40 brands changed their logo to sign language on their own social media profiles to show support of the movement and raise awareness, including big brands such as Gojek, GoFood, Nestle, Coke, OVO, Flip Burger, Sasa and local F&B chains alike.

Additionally, guests started visiting Burger King’s special stores and posted their in-store experience on Instagram. Its store traffic went up by 10%, which is a huge win considering it was during the COVID-19 pandemic. Seven deaf and mute communities also visited to interact with guests and show their support, creating and amplifying content on social media. The Sunyi Bersuara crowns were a hit, with people wearing them and posting their selfies to show support, tagging “burgerking.id”. BK distributed 500,000 crowns across its175 stores in 24 cities in Indonesia, providing visibility and engagement for Sunyi Bersuara.

The open letter got printed in four top print newspapers in Indonesia, giving more than 700 million impressions. Its social media across Instagram, Twitter, Facebook and Line gathered more than 40 million impressions, 120 000 likes and 4500 shares. The Sunyi Bersuara Video gathered 19.9 million in reach, 70,062,939 in impressions, 154,475 likes, 1,923 all positive comments, 7,684 shares, and 1,317 website hits accompanied by 4,247 follower growth.

The brand achieved organic shares from key influencers on Twitter and Instagram. Some influencers even visited the special outlets to engage with the employees. On the PR front, the brand earned 62 media coverages with 92.306% return of investment, where the majority of the media are top-tier one media outlets, achieving over seven billion in PR value. It received requests to have its Burger King employees interviewed and articles written from their perspective. The articles covered how Burger King was changing the F&B space by creating a difference in the lives of people. 

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