News / Advertising

McDonalds pulls “dead dad” TV advert after complaints from distressed viewers


McDonalds has pulled a newly-launched TV advert after complaints from viewers.

The spot features a young boy talking to his mum about the dad he never knew. As his mum tells him what his dad was like, the boy notes the differences between himself and the dad he never knew (“never scruffy, always smart, and his shoes so shiny you could see your face in them!”). The list of disparities continue until the mum-son pair enter their local branch of McDonald’s when the boy’s mum notes that the boy is eating his “dad’s favourite” meal – a Filet-O-Fish.

The campaign was launched by ad agency Leo Burnett on 12 May and originally intended to run for seven weeks but by Monday, the Advertising Standards Authority had recorded in the region of 100 complaints which they said they would “carefully assess them to see whether there are grounds to investigate”. Angry viewers also took to Twitter to express their anger over the ad, while bereavement charity Grief Encounter reportedly received “countless calls” from parents whose children had been distressed by the campaign.

In response, McDonald’s stated that "This was by no means an intention of ours. We wanted to highlight the role McDonald’s has played in our customers’ everyday – both in good and difficult times.”