McDonald's pulled a UK television advert today following complaints the fast food chain exploited child bereavement in its promotion of a fish burger. "We've listened & decided to remove our 'Dad' TV advert from today.
We apologise unreservedly for any upset caused," McDonald's UK wrote on Twitter. The controversial advert portrays a boy asking his mother about his late father, who appeared to be vastly different from his son in everything from football skills to shoes. It is not until the child bites into a McDonald's fish burger that his disappointment is countered, as his mother says: "That was your dad's favourite, too." Britain's Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) received around 100 complaints from viewers who criticised the use of grief to sell fast food, some noting the proximity to Father's Day on June 18. Bereavement charity Grief Encounter also said it had received calls from parents saying the advert had upset their children, with the organisation's president Shelley Gilbert saying McDonald's "exploit childhood bereavement" in the advert. "Trying to insinuate that a brand can cure all ills with one meal is insensitive and shouldn't be a way to show that a brand recognises 'the big moments in life'," she said. The advert was first screened on May 12 and had been scheduled to run for seven weeks.