McDonald’s is increasing its spending with diverse-owned media

The company said it will spend 10% of its ad dollars spent with diverse-owned media companies by 2024.
McDonald's diverse marketing
Photo by Jonathan Maze

McDonald’s plans to more than double its advertising spending with diverse-owned media companies and production houses, committing to spend 10% of its massive national ad fund with such companies by 2024.

The Chicago-based burger giant said on Thursday that it would increase spending with Black, Hispanic, Asian Pacific American, Women and LGBTQ-owned media companies—and specifically increase spending with Black-owned properties to 5% in 2024 from 2% now.

Currently, it spends 4% of its national ad dollars with diverse-owned media companies.

McDonald’s also said that it would create multi-year partnerships with diverse-owned media companies, providing longer-term funding to “support inclusive, authentic storytelling between McDonald’s brand and diverse customers.” The company said the long-term deals would bolster individual businesses and strengthen the broader marketing supply chain.

“We’re using our resources to support these platforms and businesses, which keep the brand at the center of culture while creating deeper relationships with our diverse customers, crew and employees,” Morgan Flatley, chief marketing and digital customer experience officer for McDonald’s USA, said in a statement.

For McDonald’s, the move to increase spending with a more diverse group of media companies comes as the company continues to fend off lawsuits critical of its treatment of Black franchisees and employees.

Of particular note, Black current and former franchisees have accused the company of largely abandoning the market for Black customers—which in turn hurt their own sales.

It also comes nearly a year after the company announced aspirations to increase spending with a more diverse group of suppliers.

McDonald’s said it plans to form an advisory board of external marketing and advertising experts to identify the biggest barriers to economic opportunity facing diverse partners and putting resources behind new programs to eliminate them.

The plan builds on long-standing relationships with diverse-owned companies such as The Borden Agency, Lopez Negrete, IW Group and Burrell Communications Group. It also follows a summit with the company’s media partners in November, where the company convened a group of diverse-owned media companies to identify partnership opportunities that align with McDonald’s overall marketing strategy. The company said it would host the Media Partner Summit annually.

Members help make our journalism possible. Become a Restaurant Business member today and unlock exclusive benefits, including unlimited access to all of our content. Sign up here.


Exclusive Content


Restaurants have a hot opportunity to improve their reputation as employers

Reality Check: New mandates for protecting workers from dangerous on-the-job heat are about to be dropped on restaurants and other employers. The industry could greatly help its labor plight by acting first.


Some McDonald's customers are doubling up on the discounts

The Bottom Line: In some markets, customers can get the fast-food chain's $5 value meal for $4. The situation illustrates a key rule in the restaurant business: Customers are savvy and will find loopholes.


Ignore the Red Lobster problem. Sale-leasebacks are not all that bad

The decade-old sale-leaseback at the seafood chain has raised questions about the practice. But experts say it remains a legitimate financing option for operators when done correctly.


More from our partners