Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Epic Ethnic Marketing McFail

No, it's not a new version of Lorem Ipsum — it's a billboard supposedly written in the Hmong language that McDonald's placed in St. Paul, Minnesota, to reach the sizeable local Hmong population. (The language unusually, for East Asia, uses a Romanized alphabet.)

Unfortunately, as I learned from AdFreak's David Gianatasio, the agency (Arnold Bloomington) failed to accurately translate the headline. 

It was supposed to read "Coffee gets you up, breakfast gets you going." David quotes Thai Lee, a local doctor, who told the St. Paul Pioneer Press "as it stands right now, it doesn't make sense at all."

Apparently, the wording of the ad was awkward and is a run-on sentence, missing key word breaks.

Dr. Lee added, "Chronic diseases like diabetes, hypertension and obesity are already a major health concern in the Hmong community. Most of this is attributed to the changing Westernized eating behaviors that Hmong people have adapted to." He also mentioned that coffee is not really part of Hmong culture.

In the same article, Kelli Bovin, vice president of management for Arnold Advertising in Bloomington told Pioneer Press"This is the first time that McDonald's anywhere in the country has advertised in Hmong. We looked at all of the ethnic groups in the Twin Cities and talked about the Hmong consumer and wanted to make sure we were communicating effectively with them." 


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