Although financial details weren't disclosed, the Burrell Advertising-produced program titled 'The Mac Report,' is believed to be an extensive media buy for the company. It breaks first on the Black Entertainment Television cable network and will roll out into spot markets later in the year.
Believed to be the fast-food industry's first infomercial, the effort is McDonald's boldest to date to reach black consumers. The 'report' focuses on 14 owner/operators and the different programs they're involved in to give something back to the community. The infomercial, filmed in the style of a news-feature program with a female 'anchor,' gives glimpses of individual franchise education initiatives; employment opportunities; and community relation programs in Los Angeles and New York among others.
McDonald's insiders see the program as an aggressive effort to bolster its status in the black community. Although McDonald's is the leader among fast-feeders with minorities, McDonald's officials are concerned some minorities feel McDonald's takes money out of the community, but does not necessarily give is back. This is one, 30-minute way to counter that perception.
McDonald's officials deny any problems led to the infomercial, and say the idea was purely consumer-driven. 'The reason why people choose McDonald's not only has to do with food and price,' said Sandy Silver, assistant vp/marketing, McDonald's Corp. 'We're perceived as a leader and people like to do business with leaders and people they trust.'
Demographics and psychographics also clearly play a role. McDonald's minority base and employee base is growing dramatically, and Silver didn't rule out a similar effort directed to Hispanics. Lee Dunham, a McDonald's operator and former head of the McDonald's Black Operators Association said that by the year 2000, roughly 80% of McDonald's work force will be made up of minorities. He also said 60% of McDonald's business in the New York Tri-State area is minority driven.
'When we stepped back and took a look at all they were doing, we found there was greater awareness on other programs, such as Ronald McDonald Children's Charities,' said Chuck Curry, president and chief operating officer of Burrell. 'You could do it in a series of print ads or 30-second spots, but it called for special treatment.'
Copyright Adweek L.P. (1993)