McDonald’s ‘edgy’ parody ad prompts PC police to force apology

McDonalds addiction ad
Image Credit: @FOREVRIZEL on Twitter

First it was Mexican Barbie. Now McDonald’s is taking heat for an ad portraying an addiction to Big Macs. While everyone would agree, real mental illness is no laughing matter, this is a parody. Can we all relax and just see it as that?

Earlier this week, McDonald’s apologized for a parody ad campaign that appeared on Boston Metros, and some say it is insensitive to people who suffer from mental-health issues. There’s a number at the bottom of the ad (800-244-6227) that rings at McDonald’s corporate headquarters.

Boston Magazine  contacted McDonald’s for comment, and said that “this strikes us as a fairly successful use of the old bait-and-switch hook on which much comedy is hung.”

A statement credited to McDonald’s spokesperson Nicole DiNoia said the ad had not been approved.

A local print ad displayed on the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority (MBTA) was recently brought to our attention. 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.

The ad campaign also included parodies of personal injury attorneys, job recruiters and adult education.

McDonalds personal injury ad
Photo credit: Jed Hresko via Facebook
McDonalds recruitment ad
Photo credit: Jed Hresko via Facebook
McDonalds adult ed ad
Photo credit: Jed Hresko via Facebook

The ad agency, Arnold MPG, doesn’t dispute that they did not have McDonalds’s approval before going forward with the campaign. Arnold president, Pam Hamlin issued a statement, according to Boston Magazine.

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.

Advertising in general is meant to be provocative. If that’s really the case, then this campaign was successful.

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