As a middle-class white male, I know I’m not really in much of a position to bitch about being overlooked or disadvantaged. Still, I’ll admit feeling a bit like the odd man out when one of my (formerly) favorite fast food establishments, McDonald’s, launched their “I’m Lovin’ It” ad campaign in 2003. Few things are more transparent and painful than when a business makes an obvious attempt to pander to minorities, because they usually do such a piss poor job.
Oh sure, fast food chains targeting black people is nothing new, so that’s no big deal in and of itself. But historically for TV ads, it seems the chains had their regular campaigns and then they had their “black” ads, replete with awful R&B-esque music and sad attempts to look hip. But McDonald’s took it to a whole new level with “I’m Lovin’ It”, which featured a rapping soccer mom in one early spot. Oh yeah, and this gem, which aired in Russia:
Now that’s commitment to a campaign.
So anyway, as much as I hated – nay, loathed – this lame campaign for years, I can’t help but chuckle at Mickey D’s attempt to show their love for African-Americans on the web. That’s right, their is a McDonald’s website just for black people – 365BLACK! It’s the one place on the web, I guess, where black people who don’t want their fast food experience to end with diarrhea can hang out and check out just how much McDonald’s cares about them. After all:
At McDonald’s®, we believe that African-American culture and achievement should be celebrated 365 days a year “” not just during Black History Month. That’s the idea behind 365Black.com. It’s a place where you can learn more about education, employment, career advancement and entrepreneurship opportunities, and meet real people whose lives have been touched by McDonald’s. Plus, you can also have a chance to win exciting once-in-a-lifetime opportunities. So make sure you visit often “” you just might get inspired.
Like the unique African Baobab tree, which nourishes its community with its leaves and fruit, McDonald’s has branched out to the African-American community nourishing it with valuable programs and opportunities.
Hmmm, I wonder if any of those valuable programs and opportunities mention anything about the dangerously high obesity rates for African-Americans in this country? Nope. Well at least they probably have regularly scheduled special events to emphasize the special relationship McDonald’s has with the black community. Oops. It seems like there hasn’t been anything new for black people to celebrate since the Essence Music Festival in July 2009. I guess in the meantime you could head over to the company’s sites for Asians (Myinspirasian) or Hispanics (MeEncanta).
Thanks for marginalizing me McDonald’s. So where can I, as a white person, connect with an eating establishment that truly cares about my white needs and white eating preferences? I think that should be obvious.