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McDonald’s Latino?

McDonald’s has launched a website aimed at Latinos called Me Encanta. It’s part of a campaign called McDonald’s Latino. Apparently, Latinos need special commercials and ad campaigns aimed at them because the enticement of a Big Mac isn’t enough. The Me Encanta website is both in English and Spanish and features Latinos enjoying their burgers, fries, and other junk food. While there is nothing new about ad agencies aiming advertising at certain demographics, there is something weird going on with McDonald’s. Namely that Latinos aren’t the only group that has specific websites targeted solely at them. When I dug into the bowels of McDonald’s main site I found 365 Black aimed at African-Americans and My InspirAsian, targeting Asian-Americans. Why do we need our own websites?

There is a segregation-like quality to all of this. There is no reason that minorities need their own websites. If McDonald’s really wanted to be inclusive why wouldn’t they just put African-Americans, Latinos, and Asians in their main ads? Why not feature Latino families eating in their restaurants on the McDonald’s website? Do they think that White audiences will somehow feel alienated or afraid if they see Latinos eating at the same McDonald’s as them? I’m all for a more diverse representation of the American public but this feels more like pandering. I’ll even give them the Spanish language version of the site because it makes sense that they want to reach American Spanish speakers. It’s that Me Encanta is also in English that bothers me.

The question of representation is a thorny one. Let’s say they were to include more Latinos and African-Americans in their ads. They then have to be careful with tokenism. You don’t want there to be a hip gang of White tweens with their one Latino friend Pablo. On the other hand you don’t want there to just be White kids in the ads nor do you want to imply that different ethnic groups can’t hang out together. What I do know is that creating different websites isn’t the answer. They need to try and create a feeling of inclusiveness and diversity in their main site without relegating minorities to an internet ghetto.

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