by Graham Pierrepoint
It’s not too long since Burger King drew complaints from several people as a TV commercial trying out interactive advertising caused multiple devices to activate and search for a Whopper – but it appears their opposite in the fast food game, McDonald’s, have also been criticized in recent weeks over a new TV campaign recently running in the UK. Rather than appeal to smart devices, however, this particular run of marketing was seemingly targeted towards a tug of the heartstrings – but for many people, at least according to complaints made and to outcry on Twitter, it was a TV spot which has caused considerable offence.
The latest in a long run of ‘real life’ moments captured by ad agencies for the fast food chain sees a teenager asking his mother questions about his father, who is implied to have passed on. The ad closes with the mother claiming that her son’s choice of Filet-O-Fish was his father’s favourite – making for a commercial that has driven a series of complaints to the UK’s Advertising Standards Agency, and which has prompted a statement from McDonald’s.
The ad is reported to have upset several people affected by having lost a parent at a young age and has therefore been deemed by several to be inappropriate, certainly in light of the advert’s intentions. The ASA had advised that complainants largely point out the campaign’s insensitivity and that it is running so close to Father’s Day – before asserting that they would be yet to make a decision upon whether or not the campaign was in need of further investigation.
With Twitter lighting up in the form of those affected by childhood loss of parents in disgust at the TV commercial, it’s likely there will be no short term end in sight as, while McDonald’s initially apologized for any offence caused, they affirmed that the advert campaign will continue for the foreseeable future. However, the brand decided to pull the commercial from screens late into the day on Tuesday as a result of continued negative press surrounding the spot.
The latest advert is part of branding in the UK where McDonald’s depicts how the chain seamlessly blends into everyday lives – this time, however, it appears their advertising has hit a little too close to home for many people. McDonald’s has, at least, taken concerns seriously and removed advertising which has caused offence.