It is tempting to think that colossal companies with equivalently large marketing budgets should be above creating marketing campaigns that could be considered crude or insensitive. A glance at your TV during a commercial break, though, will dispel that notion instantly. Regrettable songs and inadvisable attempts at comedy clog up the airwaves in a manner that will leave you cringing, rather than reaching for your credit card.
One need only remember the recent Pepsi commercial featuring Kendall Jenner that was promptly pulled soon after its release due to apparently insensitive parallels to the Black Lives Matter movement to know that the world’s biggest companies don’t always get it right.
McDonald’s has become the latest corporation to feel the full force of the public’s ire, after it released a tone deaf advert that prompted many to accuse the fast food outlet of insensitivity, even manipulation, towards children who have lost a parent.
The commercial depicts a son talking to his mother about his father, who has passed away. The pair then enter a McDonald’s restaurant, where the boy orders a Filet-o-Fish. “That was your dad’s favourite, too”, the mother tells him, with a rueful smile.
Following a barrage of complaints and ire from the viewing public, McDonald’s has taken the decision to pull the commercial, which has been viewed by some as a cynical attempt to exploit loss.
In response to the widespread criticism levelled at the company, McDonald’s released a statement to Digital Spy confirming that they had dropped the divisive commercial:
“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. Due to the lead-times required by some broadcasters, the last advert will air today, May 17. We will also review our creative process to ensure this situation never occurs again.”
It is thought that the Advertising Standards Agency has received more than 100 complaints about the advert.