McDonald’s is under fire for an ad that critics say exploits national tragedies to sell burgers.
The ad shows a series of McDonald’s signs that reference tragedies and natural disasters such as the 9/11 terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center, the Boston Marathon bombings, and the explosion of the Columbia space shuttle.
Some of the signs also make references to wedding and birth announcements.
Critics of the ad have called it exploitive and tasteless. The Washington Post called it “tone deaf” and a “disarming minute of mushy corporate propaganda.”
Others have called it inspiring and moving.
“I thought the ad was awesome,” said Steve McKee, president of McKee Wallwork + Company Advertising, an ad agency based in Albuquerque, told CNN. “It’s clear that all the billboards were real. It was demonstrating that McDonald’s is Americana.”
McDonald’s says the ad, which was created by advertising agency Leo Burnett, was intended to celebrate the burger chain’s history in local communities.
“The powerful Signs commercial has sparked commentary from consumers, and we’re happy to see that,” a spokeswoman for McDonald’s USA said in a statement. “We’ve seen some strong praise and some negative comments. We expect that, and we welcome it. We’ll continue to challenge ourselves to push boundaries in connecting with our customers.”
But many critics argue that invoking tragedies in advertising is never acceptable. Here’s what people are saying on Twitter.
This new “signs” McDonald’s commercial is tacky and really shows the company will do anything to make a buck by latching on to tragedy.
— Corey Bettencourt (@CoreyRoland) January 13, 2015
Not sure I appreciate McDonald’s using 9/11, trapped miners or the Boston bombing for advertising. Takes more than signs to show you care.
— Augie Ray (@augieray) January 11, 2015
McDonald’s is using 9/11, Hurricane Katrina, Boston bombings, and F.U.N all bundled up into one to sell you chicken nuggets. Brands!
— Donny Andrews (@dandrews66) January 12, 2015
“We were sad on 9/11, too. So buy burgers from us.”– McDonald’s
— Jake Bart (@moviedude1893) January 12, 2015
McDonald’s: Remember the thousands of lives lost during 9/11 and Hurricane Katrina? Our burgers will help jog your memory.
— Ross Parsons (@rossparsons) January 11, 2015
Here’s the ad.
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