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McDonald’s UK pulls ad that ‘exploits child bereavement’


McDonald’s UK pulls ad that ‘exploits child bereavement’


A McDonald’s UK ad which aired in the UK has been pulled after receiving a series of complaints.

McDonald’s UK has pulled a new ad from TV screens and apologised for upsets caused after accusations it was exploiting childhood bereavement.

The ad by agency Leo Burnett tells the story of a young boy’s mother telling him about his deceased father, before the two share a meal at McDonald’s where the mother reveals to the boy that the Filet-O-Fish was his “dad’s favourite too.”

The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) received about 100 complaints within a week. “Complainants have objected that it is inappropriate and insensitive to use bereavement and grief to sell fast food,” an ASA spokesperson told The Guardian.

“We can confirm that we have taken the decision to withdraw our ‘Dad’ TV advert,” says a McDonald’s spokeswoman.

“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,” she says. “The advert will be removed from all media, including TV and cinema, completely and permanently this week.”

The ad’s close proximity to UK’s Father’s Day also was a common thread among the slew of complaints to the ASA and on social media.

Earlier in the week, Skittles pulled a Mother’s Day commercial for similar reasons – complaints – although where the Skittles ad was a little creepy and unusual, McDonald’s UK ‘Dad’ ad seems extremely ill-advised, leveraging a family’s grief.




Ben Ice

Ben Ice was MarketingMag editor from August 2017 - February 2020

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