It hasn’t been a great PR week for McDonald's.
On Tuesday it decided to pull its new TV advert after being accused of exploiting childhood bereavement.
To give a brief background, the advert showed a young boy who has lost his Father, asking his Mum a bit more about him. As the advert goes on and the Mum lists aspects of his Father’s personality, the boy begins to realise they don’t have many similarities…until they get to McDonald’s where he chooses his dad’s favourite meal – a fillet of fish!
If you haven’t seen it, I’d suggest you watch it here before reading on.
So, what did you think?
When I first watched the advert (before I knew anything about the negative comments), I remember thinking it was strange to connect the theme of the story to McDonald's, but I didn’t really think too much about it. If anything, the advert made me smile.
But then, on Tuesday I heard on the news that the fast-food giants had decided to pull the advert due to its negative feedback.
When I heard the advert had been pulled my initial thoughts were of confusion, but after looking into this in more detail, I found that the bereavement charity Grief Encounter said it had received ‘countless calls’ (I’d be interested to know how many) from parents with bereaved children saying it had caused them upset. And, since the first airing on 12th May, the Advertising Standards Authority said it received about 100 complaints by 15th May. Now I don’t think 100 complaints is really that bad, I’m sure most adverts or TV programmes have plenty of complaints when they air so why has this one been brought to our attention?
Then I turned my attention to social media and after reading the negative comments about the advert, I came to the conclusion that it’s hard to make a judgement on something you’ve never had to experience.
McDonald's released a statement on Tuesday saying:
“We can confirm today that we have taken the decision to withdraw our 'Dad' TV advert. The advert will be removed from all media, including TV and cinema, completely and permanently this week. It was never our intention to cause any upset. We are particularly sorry that the advert may have disappointed those people who are most important to us, our customers.”
More than anything, I’m interested in getting your thoughts on this one. When discussed in the office this morning, I found that most of the team didn’t want to give their honest opinion with the worry it may upset someone or sound insensitive. It’s becoming clear to me that you can’t say or do much these days without upsetting or offending someone or something. Advertising companies don’t really stand a chance!!
I don’t want to sound insensitive, and I agree that if this advert offended a lot of people it should be taken off the TV.
But I just question, how many people did it really upset?