Here’s How Black Millennials Moved McDonald’s To Focus On The Black Community, Again
"Many of the Black millennials who grew up with the previous initiative are now parents themselves, and the fast food landscape has changed dramatically."
Back in 2003, McDonald’s launched a “365 Black” initiative, which was a campaign to support Black culture and community all year round — hence the name — instead of just one month a year, during Black History Month in February. In that year, the millennial cohort was the most diverse generation to date in America and was between five and 23 years old. Many were already loyal McDonald’s consumers (in fact, according to a recent Morgan Stanley report millennials are still the largest consumers of McDonald’s).
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Fast forward to today, and recently McDonald’s announced the launch of their largest African-American focused campaign since the “365 Black” initiative, “Black & Positively Golden.” Many of the Black millennials who grew up with the previous initiative are now parents themselves and the fast food landscape has changed dramatically. Now more than ever, multicultural consumers are spending their dollars with companies that invest in their culture, not simply market to it.
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McDonald’s is aware of the shift in Black consumer behavior and promises “Black & Positively Golden” is more than an advertising campaign. It was created to celebrate a new movement to uplift communities and inspire excellence through education, empowerment and entrepreneurship. Lizette Williams, Head of Cultural Engagement & Experiences, McDonald’s USA adds:
“’Black & Positively Golden’ is more than an ‘advertising campaign;’ this is what we are calling a ‘campaign movement.’ What Black millennials can expect is creative messaging and storytelling that is focused on truth, power and pride. It’s about highlighting positive imagery and telling our stories, stories focused on education, empowerment and entrepreneurship, to truly evolve the portrayal of the African-American experience in the media.”
McDonald’s is leveraging its long-standing relationship with the Black community in this new campaign, understanding that with today’s millennial consumer, content marketing and community relations go hand-in-hand. Williams also insists Black millennials were at the core of the campaign design, and the company heard their perspective loud and clear. Black millennials went through iterations of campaign research for the company, and to meet Black consumers where they are, the center of campaign conversation will be a digital marketing content hub on Instagram. “Black & Positively Golden” also includes event activations at the BET Experience, ESSENCE Festival and the McDonald’s Inspiration Celebration Gospel Tour.
The campaign also has a philanthropic arm, promising to provide $60,000 in scholarships to foster educational empowerment among HBCU students through its partnership with the Thurgood Marshall College Fund. Through the “Black & Positively Golden” campaign, McDonald’s also commenced a yearlong commitment to the YWCA USA and the organization’s Women’s Empowerment 360 Program, an initiative designed to empower approximately 5,000 women of color who aspire to be entrepreneurs. This directly affects the fastest growing group of entrepreneurs: Black women.
Indeed, it was the behavior of Black millennial consumers- their desire for brand transparency, authenticity and commitment — which led to the launch of McDonald’s “Black & Positively Golden” platform. The campaign promises to use its bandwidth and power to change the narrative around the African-American experience in the U.S., highlight all things positive and focus on stories of truth while celebrating Black excellence.