As you know, today is February 29, also known as Leap Day. It’s also the last day of Black History Month.
The reason for my letter is the latter note: Black History Month, if you don’t know what “latter” means. It is the one month of the year where I don’t tear my eyes out because of your commercials.
But why would you scoop out your oculars like a feral cat, you ask? Good question, you.
While your marketing of African-American achievements is stately–quality, even–during Black History Month, your African-American-targeted ads the other 11 months of the year are as shameful as the Grammys siding with domestic abusers by letting Chris Brown perform. You make no bones about viewing your customers as “urban” (code word for “negroes”) folk that LOVE them some rap music and doing rap musicky things.
For comparison, here’s an example of a respectable McDonald’s Black History Month ad:
And then here’s one where a marketing shill thought “The blacks like R&B music; let’s dedicate this one to them!”:
Or this one, where the positive image of the black family is sullied by a “hip, jivin’ soundtrack” (paraphrasing your marketers, BTW):
And dear lord, I’ll just put these here:
Here’s the thing: black folks can understand advertising. As a fellow black person (which probably shocks you, as this letter isn’t accompanied by a bangin’ song while you read it), I’m perfectly capable of sensing moving images without having my ears insulted. Maybe others don’t vocalize this opinion, but you are marketing to a demographic that makes up more than 10 percent of the country.
While there are McDonalds commercials geared toward African-Americans that don’t have hip-hop inspired music in it, the many examples over the years display that you think that we can only comprehend advertising when it has bouncy beats in the background. And that is as insulting than storing those ads for one month of the year to appear to be a sensitive, inclusive corporation.
I only say these things to put a face to the customers buying your food. And the people representing your company–including Ronald McDonald. (He could be light-skinned, for all you know.) After all, one of your classic Black History Month commercials included the image and words of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., a progressive African-American that fought peacefully for civil rights for all people:
P.S. Your efforts to show solidarity in the African-American community with the 365black.com website are commendable, but you might want to update the front page; Red Tails came out last month.