Is McDonald’s Trying to Make Black People Fat?

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From the AP:

There are far more ads for fast food and snacks on black-oriented TV than on channels with more general programming, researchers report in a provocative study that suggests a link to high obesity rates in black children.

The results come from a study that lasted just one week in the summer. Commercials on Black Entertainment Television, the nation’s first black-targeted cable channel, were compared with ads during afternoon and evening shows on the WB network and Disney Channel.

Of the nearly 1,100 ads, more than half were for fast food and drinks, such as sodas.

About 66 percent of the fast-food ads were on BET, compared with 34 percent on WB and none on Disney. For drinks, 82 percent were on BET, 11 percent on WB and 6 percent on Disney, and for snacks, 60 percent were on BET, none on WB and 40 percent on Disney.

No, John — we don’t think McDonald’s is trying to make black people fat. We just think it’s interesting, that’s all.

(Via Fark. Art is from Deco Dog’s collectibles.)

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About the author

Scott Baradell
Scott, president of Idea Grove, oversees one of the fastest-growing and most forward-looking public relations and inbound marketing agencies in the southwestern United States. Idea Grove focuses on helping technology companies reach media and buyers; and its clients range from venture-backed startups to Fortune 200 companies. Scott launched Idea Grove in 2005 along with his groundbreaking blog, Media Orchard. He has been a consistent innovator in the public relations and marketing space. Scott was among the first to understand the role of blogging in audience building. He was quick to recognize the vital importance of content quality and the power of social sharing. Most significantly, he developed a system that integrates public relations, content creation, social and search marketing, and conversion rate optimization into a program that produces hard-dollar results for clients.

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6 thoughts on “Is McDonald’s Trying to Make Black People Fat?

  1. John Wagner

    I saw that story yesterday and you know my first thought?

    If McDonald’s, et. al. didn’t advertise on BET, there would be an AP story about “fast-food companies ignore minority consumers.” :)

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  2. SB

    Seriously, I think it comes down to this:

    The biggest market for fast food is among people who don’t have a lot of money to spend on food, and who are in home situations — such as single-parent households — where it’s difficult to prepare meals at home regularly.

    Unfortunately (for their health), blacks are disproportionately represented in this market.

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  3. Michael

    Are there fast food, drinks and other advertisements on BET because the companies are trying to convert new customers, or retain current ones?
    (Kind of plays into Scott’s first comment.)

    Maybe the ad account reps on BET and etc. need to get more companies that offer healthier food and beverages?
    Mike

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  4. SB

    To Anonymous:

    Come back and tell us why you think there is so much fast-food advertising on BET. We’re having a little fun, but we’re also having a discussion and would like to know what you think.

    Scott

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  5. Deb S.

    Anonymous needs some love. LOL

    Seriously – Scott, your comments are on target. If you take a look at overall advertising over time (print, broadcast, outdoor), a disproportionate amount of ads toting “bad stuff” (fast foods, cigarettes, alcohol) are targeted to black households.

    Let’s take outdoor as one example. Go into any typical inner city neighborhood and see how many billboards you find advertising cigarettes and alcohol. Then count the number of similar billboards you’ll find in a middle-class, predominantly white neighborhood.

    Granted, a lot of this has to do with class and zoning laws. Without a doubt, no one is forcing the black media (or black-targeted media such as BET) to accept the ads in question.

    I think the overarching issue is about balance when it comes to the dissemination of information and services to the black community. Unfortunately, there’s a lot more advertising reaching black households than information and support on how to maintain healthy lifestyles.

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