Next month, the burger giant will unveil a new program for Hispanic consumers that wraps different programs into one neat package themed "Points of pride."
"This is a synthesis of a lot of things we've done before but it puts them together in a much bigger way. It is designed to really reinforce the positive emotional bond that Hispanic customers have with McDonald's," said Larry Zwain, senior VP-marketing, McDonald's USA.
The project will unfold throughout 2000, beginning with a new 30-second spot from Del Rivero Messianu, Coral Gables, Fla., and a new bilingual Internet site, both being launched early next month. That will be followed by more TV advertising, a print campaign and several promotional events, including projects for Hispanic Heritage Month in October.
National advertising on Spanish-language outlets, including Univision and Telemundo, will be bolstered by spot TV and radio buys and marketing projects in areas where Hispanic consumers live.
NOT JUST MR. NICE-GUY
"We don't do this just as a nice thing to do," Mr. Zwain said, noting McDonald's derives about $3 billion in annual U.S. sales from stores owned by Hispanic, African-American and women franchisees.
The company declined to say how much of its estimated $570 million media budget will be spent on the effort.
TV advertising, which had not been finalized at press time, may feature boxer Oscar de la Hoya or entertainer Enrique Iglesias. Both have been linked to McDonald's for the past year. Mr. de la Hoya starred in a popular commercial from longtime Hispanic shop Del Rivero Messianu.
He represents "reaching your goals, making your dreams come true, but never forgetting where you came from," said Marta Gerdes, senior director-marketing for McDonald's.
There also will be a focus on ordinary Hispanic consumers. "We will tap into life experiences, everyday heroes, the diversity of people within the Hispanic consumer group," said Ms. Gerdes, who has spearheaded this project.
The "Points of pride" theme will be linked to Carnival Miami, an event in March, and a new Latin music contest in June. The contest will be touted nationally, and bolstered with local contests and spot TV, radio and newspaper ads.
The Internet site will provide news about the fast-food chain and stories about contributions to world events made by Hispanics. The site will be linked back to McDonald's main site.
"We are always trying to make sure we keep in line with where consumers are and where they are going," Ms. Gerdes said.
McDonald's, now in the third year of a 10-year marketing pact with Walt Disney Co., is reaping particular rewards for the deal with Hispanic consumers, Ms. Gerdes said.
"It does extremely well with Hispanics. There is an affinity because it is about kids and family," she noted.
The chain's current holiday tie-in to Disney's "Toy Story 2" breaks new ground via a TV commercial where the animated characters speak in Spanish.
One midwestern franchisee said he likes the increased attention to Hispanic brand-building.
"It's wonderful. We have a lot of Hispanic employees and a lot of Hispanic customers in certain places. Anytime we can do anything like this to approach another consumer segment is very worthwhile," he said. "Our country is changing and we have to change with it."
Lehman Bros. analyst Mitchell Speiser said the program is a good move because Hispanic consumers tend to eat at home more than other population groups.
"In general, more focus on the ethnic population is a must for chains," he said.