3 Lessons Learned From McDonald's Latest Hispanic Ad Campaign

Once in a while, I like to highlight the ad campaigns that I think are doing a particularly good job in reaching out to the U.S. Hispanic audience. This week, I wanted to draw attention to the excellent work that McDonald’s is doing — and, hopefully, give some brands ideas for their campaigns. 

Tailor your content for the audience you want to reach.

In this case, McDonald’s was looking to specifically drive traffic and sales to its Houston locations, while also “showcasing McDonald’s’ commitment to supporting the Hispanic community” nationwide, says Natalie Asorey, a supervisor at the agency that created the campaign. The campaign was centered on the launch of the company’s “$1 $2 $3 Dollar Menu.”

In an impressive show of cultural fluency, McDonald’s and its creative team decided to enlist a character beloved in U.S. Hispanic households, as well as Latin American ones, to anchor the campaign. The character, El Chapulín Colorado, was first seen on Mexican television in the 1970s, and was played by renowned actor and comedian Roberto Gómez Bolaños (more commonly known as Chespirito, or “Little Shakespeare”). The decision to use a character with particular resonance for Hispanic audiences is particularly important, because it shows that McDonald’s cares more about creating a campaign that is deeply relevant to one audience than slightly relevant for multiple ones. 



Don’t forget to use digital channels. 

Hispanics are particularly digital-savvy, so it makes perfect sense that McDonald’s would try to leverage that in some way. In fact, the entire campaign was launched via a teaser video posted on the brand's Facebook and Instagram pages, as well as its local Houston pages, that hinted at the coming partnership with El Chapulín Colorado. 

Throughout the campaign, McDonald’s relied on a variety of channels, including national and local media outlets, influencer content, and TV and radio spots, to raise awareness amongst Hispanics. In addition, the brand also launched a series of local giveaways with limited edition games and prizes featuring El Chapulín Colorado, and used its local social pages to spread awareness amongst consumers. 

Finally — and this might be my favorite part of the entire campaign — the company offered prizes to some of the people who had engaged positively with social posts on McDonald’s Latino Facebook page that related to the new menu.

Don’t take your audience for granted. 

One of the reasons for McDonald’s’ continued success amongst Hispanics is the fact that it has never been content to rest on its laurels. Instead, it has continued to find new ways of reaching its target audience, whether by leveraging a beloved television character or tapping into Hispanic passion points. 

As Jano Cabrera, McDonald’s’ SVP of corporate relations, is quick to stress, it “never takes” its position as Hispanic consumers’ top choice for fast food “for granted.” Cabrera added that the campaign as a whole “reflected what we always strive for — to surprise and delight our guests in ways that resonate with them.” And it seems it was successful, generating over 100 million earned impressions over the course of the operation, strong media coverage, and lots of buzz on social media. 

As McDonald’s’ example shows, the most important part of crafting a successful Hispanic-focused campaign is plugging into the passion points that will get the audience excited and engaged. In this case, it used the nostalgia associated with a much-loved personality and television show to showcase its understanding of the Hispanic audience, and to engage them on a deeper level. This is a lesson that all brands should be applying to their future campaigns.

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