McDonald's ad comes across as half-baked

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MARKETER: McDonald's Corp.

WHERE TO FIND IT: BET.com, BlackVoices.com.

CRITIQUE: Today, we're going to say "McDonald's." Ronald & Co. is running a banner ad across the newly relaunched, heavily backed BET.com. The ad is in high rotation (the only non-house ad we saw on the site) with the text, "Celebrating African-American heritage." Clicking through takes people to McDonald's home page. As far as the McDonald's site is concerned, "Celebrating heritage" involves a press release about a sweepstakes with a grand prize of a trip to "the motherland" in Kenya.

Now we don't want to say this is a half-assed attempt at political correctness, but that's how the Web site comes across. Granted, it's more than Hispanics get: The link to the "McDonald's launches year-long Hispanic pride campaign" was broken and led to an error message.

It's easy to forget that when building a Web site, marketers are in the content business. And if a marketer is doing a promotion -- especially one being advertised online -- it's essential to build a meaningful site area about it. Or in this case, co-brand something with BET.com. Propping a set of golden arches atop some good BET content would be much more valuable than this.

McDonald's isn't going to get much out of an e-commerce play until someone can download a Happy Meal. But it can use the Web to bring its incredibly visible brand online. That's exactly what this promotion does, but totally ineffectively. Surfers can't even enter this contest online.

In short, McDonald's should give people more to feel proud of than a press release.

WHO CREATED IT: Frankel, Chicago

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