Just two days after #BlackOutTuesday, McDonald’s has released a powerful :60-second ad created by AOR Wieden + Kennedy New York that directly pays tribute to seven Black Americans killed by police or shot to death while unarmed: Trayvon Martin, Michael BroI Michael Brown, Alton Sterling, Botham Jean, Atatiana Jefferson, Ahmaud Arbery and George Floyd.
McDonald’s posted the ad on its social platforms and announced it will be donating $1 million to the National Urban League and the NAACP.
Floyd was murdered on May 25 by Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin who held his knee on Floyd’s neck for 8 minutes. Threes of those minutes Floyd was unconscious. His final words of “I can’t breathe” has now become a rallying cry for protesters around the world.
Chauvin, originally charged with third-degree murder, which is killing without intent, saw those charges upgraded to second-degree murder Wednesday and the three other cops – Alexander Kueng, Tou Thao and Thomas Lane are also in custody.
Monday, we reported on brands finally taking a stand against racism and injustice based on color and now the Chicago-based company has stepped up in a big way.
The spot begins by listing their names, then includes a message of solidarity with the victims, their loved ones and the protesters demonstrating around the world.
The ad comes just two days after Blackout Tuesday, a social media movement that began with music streaming services from major digital media platforms including Apple Music, Amazon Music, YouTube Music and Spotify made their channels dark in support of the protests.
Consumers also took to Instagram to share black squares, a virtual billboard for the cause. Many people also shared black squares promoting the human rights movement Black Lives Matter and suggested places to donate. The final slide in McDonald’s video is reminiscent of this social media phenomenon.
The ad also follows Nike’s recent “For Once, Don’t Do It” ad (also created by Wieden) that features a black background and white text with a message that asks people not to “pretend there is not a problem in America” and not to turn their backs on fighting racism.
While Nike’s latest spot has so far been perceived as mostly positive, according to Marketing Dive, the new McDonald’s ad has already faced some criticism for being “hypocritical.” McDonald’s employees in 20 cities went on strike to pressure the chain into improving protections for employees during the COVID-19 pandemic.
A tweet in the comments section by the ACLU argues that McDonald’s is perpetuating racism and oppressing by failing to protect the health of its workers.