McDonald’s, the restaurant chain, has demonstrated its support for the fight against racial injustice, with advertising that focuses on experiences and stories from the Black community and which is not overly branded.

Elizabeth Campbell, senior director/cultural engagement at McDonald’s, discussed this subject at the Association of National Advertisers’ (ANA) 2020 Agile Marketing in the New Normal digital conference.

And the company, she reported, “just couldn’t stand still and be quiet” as a wave of protests against racial violence and inequality erupted following the death of George Floyd in May 2020.

“We saw the way that it was affecting our employees … It took us by storm. And we saw the way that it was affecting the world,” she said. (For more, read WARC’s in-depth report: McDonald’s breaks with history to march boldly into support of Black Lives Matter movement.)

The first ad it made addressing this issue listed the names of several Black people who have been killed in acts of violence, including Trayvon Martin, Michael Brown, Ahmaud Arbery and George Floyd.

And the spot, which featured no sound, stated “They were one of us”, while reflecting that McDonald’s grieved their loss, and stood in solidarity with the Black Lives Matter movement.

“There is no music, because we’re purely paying honor to the individual … and just acknowledging that everyone was in pain,” Campbell said of the ad. “McDonald’s wanted to be part of the solution … not part of the problem.”

Building on that premise, McDonald’s next rolled out the “Amplifying Black Voices” campaign, with ads that were all but void of the quick-service chain’s presence.

The timing, Campbell explained, was right. In a much less complicated time, McDonald’s had bought airtime on the Black Entertainment Television network’s BET Awards show in late June.

Rather than sending brand-focused messages, “We actually gave up our media time to amplify Black voices and allow them to use that time to share messages that were most impactful to the community,” she said.

“No McDonald’s branding showed up in the spots. There was just a very small legal line at the bottom that said it was sponsored by McDonald’s. We really wanted to make the story and the content about the people in the community who were having a big impact.”

Sourced from WARC