McDonald’s History en Español

It has been known for years that young people of color differ from their white counterparts in being more receptive to ads, and more brand-conscious, which solidifies into brand loyalty, one of the brass rings in the advertising merry-go-round. Said an uncredited writer at, in 2013,

Unfortunately, food and beverage marketers target these young people with some of the least healthful products on the market. Because marketers know that Hispanics and African-Americans are more likely than white consumers to befriend brands and share opinions on social networking sites, many campaigns actively encourage these behaviors.

So here ya go, kids — eat this, drink that, and be sure to spend plenty of time sitting around engaging with social media — the obesity trifecta! Oh, and just to shove you along the path, there is neuromarketing. The writer pointed out how the industry leader, the Advertising Research Foundation, had learned to focus on “emotion marketing,”

[…] to target ethnic groups and drive purchasing behavior based on subconscious emotions rather than conscious decision-making.

Shortly afterward, journalist Matthew Diaz noted that “Many large universities even offer Hispanic marketing as a major these days.” One of the goals is to fine-tune recognition of the differences between the cultural norms in various Spanish-speaking countries. He pointed out that Kentucky Fried Chicken and McDonald’s shared a special ability to “capture the essence of Latino culture and successfully push the correct message.” A large component of that message is:

[T]here are indeed universal themes that connect the Hispanic community: a passion for life, family and music.

How ironic. “Hey, see those people over there who have a passion for life and family? Let’s figure out the best way to sell them stuff that will shorten their lives and their families’.”

In a 2018 article in Media Post, Parker Morse delineated “3 Lessons Learned From McDonald’s Latest Hispanic Ad Campaign.” Using the professional jargon for consumer brainwashing, he praised ad campaigns that have done “a particularly good job in reaching out to the U.S. Hispanic audience.” He particularly praised McDonald’s for “an impressive show of cultural fluency” thanks to the company’s decision to make use of an existing fictional character from a popular superhero parody TV show, El Chapulín Colorado:

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.

Spin doctoring at its finest! Don’t mention targeting an audience, talk instead about relevance and caring. Morse writes,

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…[I]t has never been content to rest on its laurels. Instead, it has continued to find new ways of reaching its target audience…

Or, you could put it this way: Not satisfied with the damage already done, the corporation relentlessly continues to seek new realms and techniques of exploitation.

Your responses and feedback are welcome!

Source: “Multicultural,”,” August 2013
Source: “KFC, McDonald’s share Hispanic-marketing strategies,”, 10/16/14
Source: “3 Lessons Learned From McDonald’s Latest Hispanic Ad Campaign,”, 04/16/18
Images by Cesar Bojorquez, medea_material, and Loren Javier/CC BY 2.0

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About Dr. Robert A. Pretlow

Dr. Robert A. Pretlow is a pediatrician and childhood obesity specialist. He has been researching and spreading awareness on the childhood obesity epidemic in the US for more than a decade.
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Dr. Pretlow’s invited presentation at the American Society of Animal Science 2020 Conference
What’s Causing Obesity in Companion Animals and What Can We Do About It

Dr. Pretlow’s invited presentation at the World Obesity Federation 2019 Conference:
Food/Eating Addiction and the Displacement Mechanism

Dr. Pretlow’s Multi-Center Clinical Trial Kick-off Speech 2018:
Obesity: Tackling the Root Cause

Dr. Pretlow’s 2017 Workshop on
Treatment of Obesity Using the Addiction Model

Dr. Pretlow’s invited presentation for
TEC and UNC 2016

Dr. Pretlow’s invited presentation at the 2015 Obesity Summit in London, UK.

Dr. Pretlow’s invited keynote at the 2014 European Childhood Obesity Group Congress in Salzburg, Austria.

Dr. Pretlow’s presentation at the 2013 European Congress on Obesity in Liverpool, UK.

Dr. Pretlow’s presentation at the 2011 International Conference on Childhood Obesity in Lisbon, Portugal.

Dr. Pretlow’s presentation at the 2010 Uniting Against Childhood Obesity Conference in Houston, TX.

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