Ethnic Minority Marketing Strategy of

Lastly, there are also rather small communities of: Turkish, Greek, Arabic, and Jewish

Marketing to ethnic minorities,” n.d.).

As Larry Light, McDonalds executive vice president and global chief marketing officer, noted at a speech to the Association of National Advertisers Annual Conference, in 2004, “Mass marketing is a mass mistake” (cited “Multichannel,” 2005). What Light understood is that only through multidimensional, multi-segment marketing can organizations hope to compete in an ever diversifying world.

Ethnic minority marketing is not a new concept for McDonalds (Cebrzynski, 1998). It has utilized highly targeted advertising and marketing communications in the past, with great success. This has led the company to its global success, with a ranking, by Interbrand, as the 7th most powerful brand in the world. One way the company has accomplished this is with their unique form of ethnic minority marketing in the form of brand journalism (“Multichannel,” 2005). In fact, one of McDonalds first ethnic minority marketing campaigns occurred in 1973, in the United States. The 60-second commercial was titled “Daddys Home.” This musical narrative featured a hard-working Black father that never missed his Saturday appointment, at McDonalds, with his young son. The commercial was so revolutionary, as it was targeted specifically to Blacks, it now resides in the Smithsonian Institute, in Washington D.C. (Landry, 2006).

McDonalds brand journalism involves telling stories to consumers. Each different story is directed at a variety of demographic groups. Using a variety of media, each story also reinforces McDonalds single brand image, while addressing the cultural concerns of the ethnic minorities they are targeting. In addition to targeting differing age and life status demographics, the company has also targeted a variety of ethnic minorities as well, forming connections between the brand and peoples lives. Much of their marketing power has come from the companys ability to simultaneously target multiple genders, ages and ethnic minorities (“Multichannel,” 2005).

McDonalds is also not afraid to take risks, going beyond the traditional means of marketing, including signage and literature in multiple languages, in todays rapidly changing, high tech world.

Targeting the global Latino population, the company developed a bilingual Internet site focusing on Latino music ( addition, an Internet site dedicated to Asians and Pacific Islanders was developed as well (“Multichannel,” 2005).

All-in-all, the corporation strives to reach out to their ethnic minority consumers, expressing that they not only desire them as a customer, but also that theyre sensitive to their unique cultural needs and desires.

Kraus (2001) points out this commitment to reaching out to new demographics is one of the keys to McDonalds success. McDonalds investment in Pret a Mange, a total of 33% ownership, is an example. With Prets typical demographic of the urban sophisticate, McDonalds reached out to this new segment. This commitment to incremental growth and market value demonstrates how McDonalds stretches itself for these sometimes difficult to reach consumers, including ethnic minorities.

The two largest ethnic minority groups in the United Kingdom are those of Asian decent and those of Afro-Caribbean decent (MacDonald, Tanner, Wheeler, 2001). To facilitate their ethnic minorities marketing strategies, McDonalds utilizes a variety of media channels. There are currently more than 15 south Asian satellite televisions, in the United Kingdom.

In addition, there are 6 24-hour a day commercial Asian Radio Stations. and, lastly, there are 13 newspapers or periodicals devoted to Chinese minorities in the United Kingdom. In contrast, there are only 3 Black channels, as well as 3 newspapers.

There are 5 lifestyle magazines, catering specifically to Blacks in the UK, as well (“Marketing to ethnics,” n.d.). These media outlets are key to McDonalds getting their ethnic minority campaigns in front of their target market segment.

Of course, not all ethnic minority marketing campaigns for McDonalds have been so well received. Last summer, Hugo was introduced. This 42-ounce, (1.25 L) soft drink included more than 400 calories when filled with a consumers favorite sugary fizzy drink. The advertising for Hugo was conducted in several languages, and as such, critics accused the company of specifically targeting the low-cost, calorie-heavy cup to minorities (“Supersized,” 2007).


In the end, the growing ethnic minority population in the United Kingdom is a significant market segment. Organizations that ignore this segment, do so at the risk of losing their competitiveness in the marketplace. As such, McDonalds has utilized ethnic minority marketing strategies to help bolster stagnant sales. Culturally sensitive marketing not only allows the ethnic consumer to understand that McDonalds desires them as a customer, but also builds trust in the organization that they understand the ethnic consumers unique needs and desires.


Cebrzynski, G. 9 Feb 1998, “McDonalds advertising campaign targets Denver minorities,” Nations Restaurant News vol. 32, no. 6, p. 8.

Cui, G. Winter 1997, “Marketing strategies in a multi-ethnic environment,” Journal of Marketing Theory & Practice vol. 5, no. 1, pp. 122-134.

Cui, G. & Choudhury, P. 2002, “Marketplace diversity and cost-effective marketing strategies,” the Journal of Consumer Marketing vol. 19, no. 1, pp. 54-73.

Krauss, M. 21 May 2001, “After the dot-com crash, marketing isnt easier,” Marketing News vol. 35, no. 11, pp. 8-9.

Landry, M. 24 Apr 2006, “From Big Macs to kind of blue,” Crains Chicago Business vol. 29, no. 17, pp. 30-31.

Lee, M. Spring 2004, “Cultural competence for marketers,” Marketing Health Services vol. 24, no. 1, pp. 34-36.

MacArthur, K. 26 Aug 2002, “McDs U.S. marketing chief reassesses staff and creative,” Advertising Age vol. 73, no. 34, p. 16.

MacDonald, L., Tanner, W., & Wheeler, C. (Oct 2001), Advertising and ethnic minority communities, [Online], Available:[24/03/08].

Marketing to minority ethnic communities, (No date), [Online], Available:[24/03/08].

Mersmelstein, E. & Zid, L. Nov/Dec 2005, “Minority report,” Marketing Management vol. 14, no. 6, p. 7.

Multichannel surfing,” 1 Mar 2005, Restaurants.

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