A gay-themed TV ad for McDonald’s being shown in France won’t be shown in the US – yet within a week of its appearance on YouTube it has scored more than half a million hits.
The ad shows a gentle teen in a restaurant waiting for his dad to bring the food back to the table. As he waits, he’s on the phone to a male friend while looking at a picture of his all-male class. As his father approaches the table, the young man says he’s got to go, and rings off.
Then, the father talks of how the young man would be popular with the women, and the teen gives his father a look that is something between a fond smile and a gentle, knowing sneer.
In an interview earlier this week, McDonald’s head of operations, Don Thompson, confirmed that the ad would not be shown in the US.
Some gay groups have been angered by the ad, but only because it’s being shown only in France and not elsewhere.
Thompson told the Chicago Tribune: “It is an example that markets, cultures are very different around the world.” He goes on to say: “I’ve never shied away from the fact that I’m a Christian. I have my own personal beliefs and I don’t impose those on anybody else.”
“I’ve been in countries where the majority of the people in the country don’t believe in a deity or they may be atheist. Or the majority of the country is Muslim. Or it may be the majority is much younger skewed.
“So, when you look at all these differences, it’s not that I’m to be the judge or the jury relative to right or wrong. Having said that, at McDonald’s, there are core values we stand for and the world is getting much closer. So we have a lot of conversations.
“We’re going to make some mistakes at times. [We talk] about things that may have an implication in one part of the world and may be the cultural norm in another part of the world. And those are things that, yes, we’re going to learn from. But, you’re right, that commercial won’t show in the United States.”
According to the online business magazine BNET, “It seems like the French ad is turning into a lose–lose situation for McDonald’s, angering those on both sides of the fence. American gays and lesbians feel shunned that the ad is only airing in France, while the American right is baffled and disturbed that it aired at all, anywhere.
“It’s a cautionary tale on what can happen when a company doesn’t back up [its] marketing position with real action in stores and in the community. A company can’t really position itself as a little gay-friendly, but only around the edges.”
Pink News says the ad has become a “viral sensation” on the Internet.