Monday, June 18, 2007

McDonald's: The Black People Plumper

Alternative Titles:

McDonald's: The Official Fattener Of African-Americans

McDonald’s: For All Your Negro Catering Needs

McDonald’s: “We Feed Black People”

Granted I don't watch much tv, or pay much attention to McDonald's commercials when I do, but I haven’t seen a McDonald’s commercial that was targeted for white people in like twenty years. This begs me to ask two questions:.

1 – How the hell is McDonald’s so ubiquitous if only black people eat there?

2 – I’ve always thought McDonald’s ads sucked, but maybe they’re actually incredibly good?

3 – Are black people the tipping point for mainstream corporate success?

Ok, so I'm not good with counting questions or chicken mcnuggets, and of course it’s not only black people eating at McDonald’s. Everyone goes there (though I must say my Asian sensors are usually pretty quiet whenever I visit). But McDonald's definitely seems to have a "black division" that's all about sustaining their domination in the negroes-gotta-eat-too sector.

And I know this isn't breaking news. Amongst others, The Postshow boys, including First Responders heckler Alex Blagg, have a great parody on McDonald's racist marketing. So certainly the secret is out.

But it is telling that such blatant racism, or racializing if you prefer, is not only accepted, but is so effective at the mainstream level. My takeaway: In America, racism is part of your bottom line whether you like it or not.

It's also interesting that McDonald's is this infinite reservoir of subtextual racism — from the negroes behind the counter, to the negroes in front of the counter, to the caucasians in corporate who rely on both of them to keep the stock skyhigh — but the surface reality is one of a racial utopia. Black, whites, and others all getting fat and lovin' it together. There's never any beef or racial drama in McDonald's.

When I'm in McDonald's I'm almost tempted to say they can't be racist, look at how they've united everyone via the power of transfats. But then I see an ad and everything smells McFishy to me.


  1. this post was so east-coast centric. on the left coast, McD's is only consumed by immigrant latino's and their many, many children. in san francisco you might see some poor chinese there on occasion. point being, McD's is the food of the fourth estate, regardless of color (except white).

    1. Anonymous3/01/2014

      this comment was so Eurocentric. the west-coast is on the right of japan.

  2. Anonymous6/18/2007

    really? up north it's all about happy, skipping white kids in the ads

  3. hmm. im near dc/balt. and lots of latinos/blacks/whites/interracial behind and in front of counter. Also alot of senior citizens and differently abled. less high school kids than i remember when growing up (yeah, 30 yrs ago when it cost 85 cents to get cheese burger, coke and fries...) so what would be your angle if only white people were their ads and restaurants?

  4. Anonymous6/19/2007

    what about Sprite? There hasn't been a white guy in a Sprite ad in 20 years.

  5. lolita6/19/2007

    I was about to say the same thing, what if their ads only featured white people??

    In South Africa McDonalds doesn't always bother to make local ads so they'll feature some dubbed asian kid -- whatever.
    That picture with the beggars around the McD's looks like the McD's up the road from me, a great deterrent from their frightfully good year-old fries. They've now got a really lame ad on where the burgers are supposedly actors back stage, with a large audience waiting in anticipation in the theatre, we follow a camp stage manager as he knocks on each door, "cheese burger deluxe, curtain call in 5 minutes" yes that is the state of advertising in my country.

    Either way McD's caters to everyone here in SA, their ad's feature all races and creeds. Which many other brands don't do, South African or otherwise, just saw an ad for a washing powder, not one black person in the ad, despite the fact that we are +70% of the populations, 13 years into democracy, representation is still a major issue here. MAJOR.
    Wassup TAN

  6. Since I rarely eat at Micky D's I don't pay any attention to their ads but they if represent who is generally behind the counter where I live, then the ads are going to feature Hispanics/Latinos who do not speak English as their first language. Don't mean to sound racist but that's the way it is. The customers, however, are fairly representative of the area. McD's is a corporate powerhouse. They know what they're doing and it may be bothersome to realize how our society has arranged itself socioecomically.

  7. The only color mickey dee cares about is GREEN. They make money off of everybody...

  8. Anonymous6/21/2007

    "Wah I am black *sniff*."

    "Whitey be keepin' me down n sheit."

    "Racism" rolls eyes. "White" people are not you poo kneegros problem. Take the red pill already.

  9. ha @ negroes-gotta-eat-too.

    I totally agree though. They def keep their marketing focused on the colored population.

  10. LOL..i love this one..and i agree. Every Calvin can be a manager now thanks to the marketing.

    I don't eat at McDonalds anymore though..can't stand the food.

    Great post

  11. They may feed the black people, but they refuse to let the poor people use the bathroom. They also refuse to let musicians/street performers play anywhere near their restaurants.
    At least that's the case here in Canada, another western pretender of human rights and freedoms.
    your humble servant,
    ancient clown

  12. Anonymous6/21/2007

    Really? Here Muck Donalds ads are targetted at white middle class kids, white working class kids and then black and asian kids.
    I have to take my kids there. Sorry.

    Can't say that i have noriced many of the local black people in ther, actually...hmmm.

    Surely, they want anybody with money to spend? Capitalism is only racist if they can sell more that way.

    I do like your blog to. Issues i hadn't considered are always welcome.
    Arcanics (coffee and spliffs blog)

  13. Anonymous6/21/2007

    I seem to have made a load of typos.


  14. Great blog! It's one of the first "blog of note" blogs I've read in awhile that's been good. Zelda? Seriously?

    I doubt this means anything, but the word verification is "ickfry." I think blogger agrees with you.

  15. Very intriguing post. The fact that racism is embedded in our culture (and language) is something I always try to talk about w/my tenny little class. Black is still a prefix for 'bad' and Indian for 'false' and it's so sad that it's at such a basic level as language.

    There really needs to be a deep honest look at our society to see how far this problem goes.

    I always noticed the influx of these fast food restaurants in poor neighborhoods or those deemed 'ethnic.'

    Also here via the 'blog of note' but I'll have to remember the site.



  16. Lots of middle-class-looking white, black and "other" children in the UK ads and in the restaurants. Not all fat, yet. ;)
    High Heels

  17. I just moved to Phoenix, AZ from West Texas. There are not many African Americans in either place, all though Phoenix being a large city has a more diverse population. But after reading your blog there was a McDonald's add, which featured a very attractive 20-something white woman dressed in very upper middle class clothes. The music also appeared to be French Jazz. I don't what that means but that what it was.


  18. If I could correct my last sentence to my post:

    I don't know what that means but that's what it was.


  19. Down here in the fucked up south McDonald's came up to bring the american food to uncivilized third world people, and eating in this (kind of) hell is just for rich people (black, brown, white, etc, etc).

  20. It is real McFishy indeed. But I think it depends where you live. When I lived in DC, the ads catered to the blacks. Now I live in Florida, and it depends on what channel I'm watching. But you raise a good point.

  21. Interesting 2 read this post. I just heard a story on the news today that the population in China is becoming more "Americanized" in that they are getting fatter. Their diet is including more and more high fat foods (read Micky D's and the ilk). That dang clown is trying to take over the world!

  22. Contrary to belief,Mucky Ds is colorblind to any color but green.In a global existance of its marketing strategies,targets all around the world.Gone from a place to get cheap burgers on the road and back then it was cafes and restaurants on the road and fast food usually had you waiting at a table for your waitress to get time to make it over to your order, thereby making fast food feasable to eat "on the run",and back then the burgers were actually good and real meat was used.Im not sure what it is now but it may be ground up old Johnny Mathis record for all I know (not a slam).Their ads are somewhat still a goofball but yet it outsells many other fast food places.While not healthy its all about the doller now and quality good food in what was McDs is gone.The old Ronald McDonald ads are so cheesy that you'd swear it was a freaky cult.Well it is now and breaking free of fast food wont happen anytime soon.See ya at the drive thru !

  23. God created cows,sheeps and others for all men,so McD's is for all people, not certain race


  24. mcdonald's markets itself to everyone- not only the nice, stable happy middle-class families as the perfect family fastfood restaurant, but also to the poor, rundown 'hood kind of people, giving them cheap, fast and no-fuss meals. it's a big corp, but it markets itself as the kind of wholefoods or trader joe's fast food equivalent, wholesome hometown food.
    about the racism you see- the thing is, when you're talking about black people now, you're also talking about black people who are still disadvantaged by their history. the fact that just thirty, forty years ago a black was served last means that even now, it is impossible to be free of racial prejudices however subtle they may be.
    and another thing is, if they market only to the blacks, it may be because the execs think that the blacks are the biggest market, that mcd's can gain the most from them, or that they feel that they have a strong foothold in the middle-class, white 'hoods but not in the black community.
    in response to question 1- wasn't mcd's racist too? i'm just asking as an asian, non-american. now with the breaking of the shackles, isn't it sort of like, a whole new market is opening up, the market of the blacks? so now they gotta market to the blacks, cos they already got the whites.

  25. In Malta McDonalds are really promoting healthy eating now and they are even giving apples with the meals etc.

    ...and by the way I have never seen a black person on a mcd ad.

  26. The thing about "Mc Dee's", is that when I was a kid it was a white suburban fetish. I was 18 before I had my first "Micky Dee's" oatmeal burger, and wad of french fried wax with orange tinted water to wash it all down.

    I never saw the attraction it had for that 'other' segregated ghetto.

    You know the one's with the lawns, and "Leave it to Beaver" house's.

    I lived in black Brooklyn as a kid. All the white people,..except the Orthodox Jews split for the 'burb's as fast as they could when they saw us coming.

    However as far as burgers go "White Castle" still rules. You can eat all ya wants, and never gain weight.

    I suppose that's because like beer you just rents them little guys 'cause they come flying out'a ya in no time.

    If you need to get regular real fast take home a bag of those little sweethearts. Does the trick everytime. I just loves'em.

    Anyway as we all know, and as you point out here. Them "Mc Donald's" burgers has endeared themselves to the to the communities of color like $300. sneakers.

    I suppose if one wanted you could make the point that it's yet another conspiracy to exterminate black people.

    It might be,..but then what isn't.

    Btw, love your stuff! A pal turned me on to your pages. I'm so happy to meet another Negro there so few of us left after all.

    Say do you have t-shirts? If not you ought too.

  27. mcd's in malta are healthy? nice.
    well, mcd's in singapore sells corn cups, salads (which are tiny and suck) and apple slices at exorbitant prices. it's only cheap if you buy a EVM. which, you know, more than cancels it out.
    they dont even have salads!

  28. Found your "Blog of Note" today, I'll keep checking back.

    FWIW, I'm a white girl working for a white lawyer, we rep a lot of McD's franch. owners. I can tell you that there is a group of them who call themselves the Black Owners Assoc. a sub-set of black owners of McDs franchisees (not owners of blacks, LOL-not funny). I've also heard that corp has endeavoured to place many blacks, and people of colour, in high level corp positions in recent years. Feel free to speculate on why that is. Not entirely swayed by your commentary on the marketing angles as I've seen ads targeted to many sub-cultures, including the "health-conscious".

    You have an voice. Thanks for being here.

  29. Hmmm, did I misunderstand? I thought you were making the point of how blacks are sterotypically mis-represented in the current commercials, not that blacks eat or don't eat at McD.

    I notice the ads do not show the large people I see going thru the drive thru...

  30. Dilema,

    Should I give the coupon I got in the mail for a free breakfast burrito to a homeless person carrying a sign that says, "Homeless Veteran, I need money for food?"

    Thanks for the thoughtful prose...

  31. Blacks, whites, and others all gettin fat together. I'm lovin' it!

    I don't know if I would call it racism, but it is still pretty disgusting - basically pandering on the lowest levels possible.

    I guess what could be called racist is how they seem to have distinct commercials aimed at whites and ones aimed at blacks, though. Which is super hilarious when you compare them both side by side and also in how all their commercials are so insulting to your intelligence and make people into parodies of human beings. And like you said, it seems to be aimed 90% towards blacks now, but obviously virtually everyone is eating there though I'm proud to say I have not been since the early 90s as it's simply the most flavorless food imaginable.

    At least I got a good laugh out of your post, though.

  32. This must have been where Zach Randolph spent most of his time for breakast, lunch, and dinner

  33. TAN,
    Nice, but seems to me they target the local population. I'm in the military and have lived all over the world and found that everywhere I go the McD has costumized not only their commerials but also their menu. You'd be shocked what you can get on the menu in Japan! In Hawaii you can get... no kidding, SPAM! And portugese sausage.

    Here in Australia where I'm currently on assignment they have their own twist on the menu and - get this - Burger King is called "Hungry Jacks"... same logo as in US but different name. Weird man!

    As a white person I'm not afraid to admit I love McDs... just have to run alot to keep the pounds off so I try not to eat there too much. But I love their adds, and my 8-year-old daughter (half black) will sing a McD commercial anytime we pass the golden arches.

    Hmmmm... maybe you are right!

    I'm going to alert my wife to this (she's black... and from NJ) and we have got to monitor the kids on this one.


  34. they buy the farms fatten the cows......
    they slaughter the cows...
    they buy the shops to sell the cow burgers.............
    they hire children to flog the bugers to the fat consumer ,who didnt go to subway!
    mc thanks

  35. you make some very interesting points; I tend to agree, but only because of my location. I live in the south and there are probabaly regional differences. Of course, we can't forget that advertising/marketing has more to do with your insight into MC than you may realize.

  36. OK, so I've always noticed that the Burger King Ads are targeted towards black people and for some reason, the black people I know prefer Burger King. Am I crazy?

  37. I've noticed this advertising trend as well and have pointed it out to friends who never seem to believe me. Although its not really a matter of belife, its so blatant its ridiculous but white people don't like the word racism very much so they shrug it off as a coincidence. When have advertisements ever been accidental?

  38. My favorite McDonald's ad, and I only heard it once for obvious reasons, was a spot tied into its Tarzan promotion that referenced, "Jungle Fever." I nearly drove my car off an entrace ramp from laughing so hard. That I was with a (white) friend who grew up in rural Illinois and didn't recognize the term made it all the funnier.

  39. Blah Blah Blah6/25/2007

    All I want to know... who in thee hell took the last picture?
    I mean that's a pic for a romantic...

    Black and white with the soft fluffy clouds in the background as the sunsets?!?!

  40. Yeah on the eats coast its more geared to the black audinece... Sweet Tea is only offered on the east coast.

  41. Anonymous5/29/2009

    Stumbled across this blog while researching McD's ad campaign strategy --- re the post that said "influx of fast food into poor neighborhoods" --- uhh, not really. go to any very poor AND off-the-beaten path NYC ghetto neighborhood and national chains are NOT as common as you might think. Not enough money for them to waste their time and money paying for the real estate. E.g., Westchester Square in the Bronx used to have a KFC and McD 2 minutes from the subway station --- both gone for years now. Choice is McD at Parkchester (ghetto, high-rise projects = high population density = foot traffic = MONEY), or McD about 12 blocks from Westchester Square. WENDY's stayed around and surely benefited from McD and KFC pulling up and moving out. Other than that it's a Greek diner or two, a Dominican fonda (La Caridad), and recently, a Mexican taverna "Estrella Poblana". No national ad campaigns w/ those guys...

  42. Anonymous9/22/2010

    I haven't seen a McDonald's commercial with white people in it in a long, long time (maybe 20 years, as the author states). As a white person I rarely go to McD's unless I'm really starving for some unnatural junk food.

    There's a McD's in my town which is 99.9% white. I'm amazed they're still in business because I never see anybody in there. Maybe the .1% black population visits it late at night?

    It's strange how companies like McD's are racist if they don't cater to blacks, and now they're racist because they cater to blacks (or the urban market, which now includes hispanics) almost exclusively.

    Nobody should be eating that garbage, it's no wonder urban dwellers have an obesity problem if they're eating that crap. Unfortunately many poor people cannot afford to buy fruits and vegetables.

  43. Anonymous7/25/2012

    I've eaten garbage lack of exercise is what is really making people fat..


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