Easily Offended Brits Pressure McDonalds to Pull Commercial [VIDEO]

by Kim Quade on May 18, 2017

Chalk up another win for the Easily Offended. This time they managed to have a McDonalds ad pulled in the United Kingdom.

Here is the advertisement in question. It tells the story of a young boy who lost his father before he had developed any memories of him.

And, of course, McDonalds heard the bleats of the Easily Offended. In fact, over 150 complaints were entered at the UK Advertising Standards Authority. Here’s one example:

“I am sickened and disgusted by this advert. Lost my dad at nine. Memories? Yes. Burger? No! Shameful ad McDonald’s.”

More:

Adweek called it a “tactless ad,” and commented that, “. . . it presents a branded product—in this case, a Filet-O-Fish sandwich—as the one thing that can ease the child’s difficult feelings about his dead father.”

I make no apologies — I love this ad. In it a see a young boy trying to connect with a long-lost father, and a mother who carries fond memories of him. I see the remnants of what had once been a traditional family, interrupted only by tragedy, which is a contrast to the nearly 50% of children born out-of-wedlock in the UK.

The commercial also treats the father with honor. It doesn’t present the father as the Big Doofus of the family:

But let’s go back some years to this very famous ad produced by Budweiser.

Everyone loves that commercial. Did throngs of complainers make a stink about this ad ‘exploiting’ the deaths of thousands by a beer company? No, probably because there was no Facebook or Twitter back then. Had social media existed in 2002, you can bet some ninnies would be crying in their (ahem) beer about it.

Great Britain was once a bold and hearty little nation, the first to take on the Nazi war machine. Now it appears that Brits have lost their legendary stiff upper lip, and prefer to wallow in feelings. Churchill must be spinning in his grave.

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{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

GWB May 18, 2017 at 1:47 pm

First, the difference between the Budweiser commercial and the McD’s commercial is fairly obvious. The Bud commercial was explicitly honoring the dead of a “tragedy”*. And, yes, I actually do recall complaints about it – they were just on blogs back then. (But, the Bud Clydesdale commercials have often been purely evocative, setting a brand meme in the brain, rather than actually selling their beer.)

As to the Filet-O-Fish ad, it’s … meh. It’s trying for the evocative meme bit, but I think it misses. Sort of like the product it’s selling, it ends up bland and flat.

But, “bland and flat” is a long way from “tasteless”, “sickened” and “disgusted”. (Though, honestly, all those could also apply to the Filet-O-Fish, as well, imho.) And it’s even longer from “You have to pull this ad because it outraged my sensibilities! ZOMG!1!!!11!!!”
That Britain even has an organ to which you can complain about this is a testament to how much the Brits really desire to live under the eye of Big Brother.

I agree with you that the dad is presented as a “good Dad”. The boy is presented as a bit of a doofus, though. It’s not really in a bad way – he just doesn’t measure up to his dad. It’s a bit lame that the one way he measures up is in his choice of less-than-stellar fast food. (I’m particularly bothered by the fact a Brit would prefer McD’s Filet-O-Fish to actual take-away fish & chips; the one isn’t even in the same galaxy of taste as the other.) And there’s not even a “hey, if I eat this lousy fish sandwich I might get good at some of those other things!” redeeming quality – maybe McD’s thought that would be a bridge too far.

Lame commercial. Fails to actually build brand meme, imo, AND fails to make the product appealing. But it’s nice. And “offensive” is the absolute last quality a sane person could ascribe to it.
To quote “Callum” above: smfh.

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Mike aka Proof May 18, 2017 at 3:24 pm

I thought the ad was better than 95%of the ads I see on TV here everyday. Some people are just perpetually offended.

Reply

GWB May 19, 2017 at 5:40 am

True, but that’s a fairly low bar. 😉
At least it didn’t need a disclaimer about side effects (for some reason I see a LOT of drug commercials on my internet tv).

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