Tuesday, January 5, 2010

AiAA: McDonald's – Dollar Van Demos

Despite the overwhelming acceptance and embrace of hip hop culture worldwide, the genre is still an awkward marketing conundrum for Madison Avenue. It's been a quarter-century since rap music really hit the mainstream and big business could be forgiven for their initial exploitative attempts to cash in on the "fad". I mean, really, who could stay mad at this:

Celebrity endorsements were inevitable and by the early 1990s, corporate America anointed MC Hammer as the next non-threatening Negro pitchman of the minute. Rap music, however, was still in its relative infancy as a hot commodity. Consequently, the inherent fluidity of the genre's popular themes and subject matter meant that the shelf life of yesterday's multi-platinum act lasted only as long as it took some other guy to rap about a "G Thang" or wear a shiny suit or afford an Auto-Tune.

In the case of Hammer, by the time his 30-second fast food spots were rolled out, the national Hammer backlash was in full swing. It's been nearly 20 years and I'm still mad at this:

And, so it goes.

McDonald's has been airing a new commercial during Sunday NFL games and popular primetime telecasts. Sadly, Mickey D's still doesn't get it. While I applaud the spirit behind the ad campaign, the execution is abysmal.

Who is McDonald's audience here? If it's African-Americans…trust me: most of us can appreciate pandering when we see it. If it's poor Black folk…I read, wrote about and discussed the alarming attraction of low-income minorities to the fast food industry in the mid-1990s while I was in college. I'm going to guess that a complete societal reversal has not yet occurred.

And, if the target audience is supposed to be fans of underground rap and the genre's roots, then Joya Bravo sold it all out for a dollar (menu). But, based on her look and flow, that might be enough to buy the rest of her J.J. Fad starter kit off lay-a-way.


SHough610 said...

Best part of the Hammer commercial for Taco Bell? The easily visible Pepsi can that the member of Hammer's entourage is drinking. Shilling two products at one time? Hammer, don't hurt 'em.

Speaking of Hammer, if you've seen his Behind the Music you probably saw his "Pumps and a Bump" video. The guy who directed that opened an independent studio in Petersburg, Virginia with Tim Reid (Venus Flytrap from WKRP in Cincinnati) and Daphne Maxwell-Reid (the second Vivian from Fresh Prince). Martin was one of the bigger influences in my opinions about film, race, and race in film.

Dollar Van Demos said...

you made some interesting points about big business and hip hop. but we like you to know that 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.
see for yourself here:


It's a trade-off but one we would certainly do again to keep our movement afloat.

That Bootleg Guy said...

Fair enough. I certainly understand and appreciate your points.

Like I said, I dig the spirit and I'll absolutely give the link a look.

Thanks for your insight.

Scottdids said...

I never get in the car without my microphone. Yet I thought I was the only one and was nervous about going public about it, until now. Thank you McDonalds!

On a more serious note, Cam when are we getting your Hall of Fame induction thoughts? The local blogosphere of my Mariners are having fits over the exclusion of Edgar Martinez. Personally, while I think he should get in, a lot of guys like Blyleven and Alomar were far more deserving before him. But Andre Dawson?