“The ethnic consumer tends to set trends,” McDonald’s U.S. chief marketing officer, Neil Golden, told Bloomberg back in 2010. “So they help set the tone for how we enter the marketplace,” he continues.
Golden’s point was that the preferences of minority consumers shaped (and continue to shape) McDonald’s menu and ad choices, which are in turn advertised to all Micky D’s customers.
Marketing aggressively to black people isn’t anything new for America’s biggest burger chain.
NPR recently unsurfaced ’70s-era McDonald’s ads that appeared in magazines like Ebony and Jet. NPR’s Gene Demby writes,
“While we take for granted that there are lots of people of color in mainstream commercials, the world was much different in those awkward early days of culturally targeted marketing. But a journey through this history offers a (hilarious) reminder of what has and has not changed in the art of selling burgers to brown people.”
Here are a few of the ’70s-era McDonald’s print spots NPR dug up:
Demby points out,
“You could probably credibly map the arc of mainstream media representations of black folks over the past 50 years via McDonald’s spots. And because culture is a dynamic thing, a spot-on appeal in 1975 might look hopelessly misguided in 1990.”
NPR also explores an entire category of McDonald’s ad that concerned itself with black people getting jobs, or as Demby puts it, “McDonald’s ad[s] that trumpeted the idea of the fast-food chain as an engine for black and economic advancement.”
Fast forward to the 21st century, to this 2008 culturally-targeted McDonald’s spots which appeared in Ebony Magazine.
What do you think, is “Lovin’ it” simply the modern day version of “Gettin’ down”?