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McDonald's Apologizes for Unapproved Ad

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#1 Hum

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Posted 11 April 2013 - 22:38

McDonald's is fielding a PR failure for an unapproved ad that went public.

The ad, found as a poster on the Boston metro, parodied mental health and depression PSAs: "You're not alone. Million of people love the Big Mac," the ad reads, next to the photo of a crying woman and an 800-number that connects to McDonald's corporate office.

McDonald's was not happy and released this statement to Time:

We can confirm this ad was not approved by McDonald’s. And, as soon as we learned about it, we asked that it be taken down immediately. We have an approval process in place, with our marketing and advertising agencies, to ensure that all advertising content is consistent with our brand values. Regrettably, in this incident, that process was not followed. We sincerely apologize for this error.

Arnold Boston made the ad and told Adweek:

Arnold apologizes for its mistake to McDonald's and to anyone who was offended by the ad. McDonald's did not approve the ad, and its release was our unintended error. We've addressed the issue and have improved our approval process to ensure this does not happen in the future.

This is a particularly tasteless ad considering that Hill Holiday launched a massive "Happier Boston" campaign for Samaritan this winter, aimed at lowering suicide rates in the city. While Massachusetts' suicide rate went down, the city-wide rate has gone up in the last decade.

The McDonald's advertisement in question is part of a larger, unapproved, campaign that pokes fun at stereotypical subway ads. The personal injuries lawyer ad promises to "get you the sausage you deserve." The continuing education spoof reads, "It's never too late for an Angus Bacon Cheese."

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#2 Growled

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Posted 12 April 2013 - 00:03

I can't believe that anyone would think that ad was a good idea in the first place.

#3 +warwagon

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Posted 12 April 2013 - 00:09

The ad made me Laugh out loud.

#4 OP Hum

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Posted 14 April 2013 - 15:18

Much ado about nothing.

People are way too sensitive.

#5 theyarecomingforyou

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Posted 14 April 2013 - 15:27

The issue isn't that people are overly sensitive, it's that McDonald's doesn't want to alienate demographics that find is distasteful. Does the ad bother me? No, but nor do I think it is appropriate or positive. It's out of character with McDonald's traditional advertising.

#6 NightScreams

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Posted 14 April 2013 - 15:32

I thought it was pretty good, amusing to say the least. Some people will find anything distasteful, like Mad TV's parody of the ipad in 2010. You can't please everyone without having a boring ad.

#7 compl3x

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Posted 14 April 2013 - 15:33

The issue isn't that people are overly sensitive, it's that McDonald's doesn't want to alienate demographics that find is distasteful. Does the ad bother me? No, but nor do I think it is appropriate or positive. It's out of character with McDonald's traditional advertising.


Yes. Thank you. McDs has more to lose by not apologising than by apologising. Bad PR they could get from something like this would not be pretty.

One question I have is why doesn't HUM post the image of the ad in the OP?

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There. Easy.