Out of the Frying Pan and into the Fryer
McDonald's has crossed oceans and braved language barriers to come to a location near everyone. While Mickey D's can rake in the euros and the yen, the success of its multicultural campaigns in the States remains questionable. Its latest tagline, "I'm lovin' it," is translated into multiple languages on your super-size drink, but it doesn't stop there. The fast food giant owns three Web site domains targeting major minority groups - 365black.com, i-am-asian.com and meencanta.com. The sites feature interactive activities, even scholarships and career opportunities meant to elicit pride within each community - we think. Take i-am-asian.com: You can learn Asian phrases and "shock your friends" (uh, who's the target again?), or see how to enjoy a chicken sandwich with the help of pictorial instructions that verge on the sexual."This domain-name grabbing thing seems to be a bit colonialistic," says Valerie Romley, chief research officer and founder of consultancy Moving Target Research Group. "A superficial attempt at 'promoting an understanding' of different cultures and an opportunistic attempt at co-opting or hijacking identity for profit." Others say the sites aren't exactly offensive, but still. "The only way this would be effective as it is now is if it created some sort of media controversy," says Tom Anderson, founder of consultancy Anderson Analytics. "Any PR is good PR - well, not always, but often."