McDonald’s walks fine line with hip-hop ads

Fast food doesn't have the best track record when it comes to co-opting inner-city culture. So, it's interesting to see what happens when McDonald's attempts a two-fer: hip hop and dollar vans. (For you suburbanites, here's a definition of the latter.) The burger chain is partnering its Dollar Menu with Dollar Van Demos, a rolling reality show of sorts that lets New York rappers record demos while catching a ride. The first spot to come out of this strange union is posted above, and features Joya Bravo, a freestyle songstress who got some buzz for her rap-and-violin appearance in the Dollar Van late last year. (Also see a making-of video below.) So far, the reaction online has been mixed. "While I applaud the spirit behind the ad campaign," writes blogger That Bootleg Guy, "the execution is abysmal." Still, you've got to give credit to the Dollar Van Demos crew, who've been responding via social media to almost everyone who mentions the spot. In reply to That Bootleg Guy, they wrote: "This advertisement has made it possible for our music video showcase to continue to bring undiscovered talent to the masses without the need of record labels and cable tv." It's a good point, though I think many will still struggle to figure out how supporting McDonald's is a form of fighting the man.

—Posted by David Griner