McDonald’s: Dead Dad – banned – extended edition

In this commercial


Heart or Humor


Big fail.

In marketing, you can not play with people’s feelings. It is a fine line, and a marketing manager should be able to see it. McDonald’s pulls a TV advertisement in the U.K. about a boy whose father died. This happened after the company was accused of exploiting the feelings of children who have lost a parent.

According to PRWeek, more than 150 people have complained about the advertisement to the U.K. Advertising Standards Authority: A statement released on Tuesday afternoon by McDonald’s said: “We can confirm today that we have taken the decision to withdraw our ‘Dad’ TV advert. The advert will be removed from all media, including TV and cinema, completely and permanently this week. “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.
“Due to the lead-times required by some broadcasters, the last advert will air tomorrow, Wednesday 17 May. We will also review our creative process to ensure this situation never occurs again.” The fast food company had earlier apologized “for any upset this advert has caused” early today, saying: “This was by no means an intention of ours and we regret some have interpreted it in a negative way.”

The outside agency that created the ad for McDonald’s, Leo Burnett Group, declined to comment.

TV commercial fail


Sorry Leo Burnett but this advert is a fail.

Heart or Humor7.0
Reader Rating: ( 1 vote ) 10

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Comment (1)

  1. 0:00 First impressions. The kid is sort of red-of-face. One cannot help but wonder if this is perhaps indicative of high cholesterol. But a child this young would have to eat a whole lot of unhealthy food or, perhaps, have a genetic disposi- oh God.

    0:03 A watch? A bold decision to go with this heirloom considering Tarantino did it so well in Pulp Fiction. Perhaps McDonald’s is not willing to spring for Christopher Walken, settling instead for an anonymous box whose performance is as wooden as its constituent parts.
    0:09 Are we to really believe that these glasses belong to the boy’s father? For an adult male’s frames, they fit inexplicably well on the young boy’s head. Why did the father have such a small head? Perhaps it would be more pertinent to ask “why did the father have a boy’s glasses and where is that boy now?”.

    0:12 A little black book? Hopefully unrelated to the unknown boy subplot.

    0:18 Kitchen appears not to have been renovated since the 70’s. The sort of neglect one might see in a family which is outsourcing the heart of its home to a fast food franchise. By my count that’s two hearts McDonald’s has claimed from this family.

    0:19 Holy hell, she got from the ironing board to the window demonically fast. Leo Burnett London would not allow a match cut this bad in a deliverable for one of their biggest clients so we can only assume the mother is a succubus.


    0:28 “Big, cuddly.” — we know why that is. “Tall as a house, big, big hands” — but with a boy-sized head, right?

    0:33 Free parenting tip for widowed mothers: leverage your son’s bereavement for his dead father to discipline him into an appearance of your preference.

    0:48 Brainstorming meeting: >> “we still need to build some aspiration into this sob tale”. <> “I don’t get it”. <> “You sick genius, the client will love this”.

    0:55 “He liked techno happy hardcore?”. ”Yeee, also doing Es and getting blasted on the weekend. Back then the pills were quality.”

    1:00 Turn you inadequacy dial up to ‘rejection’. Beloved dad was “a wow” with the all the girls but the smile of our unathletic reflection in the TV screen is met with a cold indifference by the approaching romantic prospect.

    1:02 Solemn faced, devoid of romantic love, devoid of athleticism, devoid of parental approval, what’s a fatherless boy to do?

    1:05 Forget that, arrival at McDonald’s has restored the bounce in his step. This could be you! Better have a couple of black guys sitting in the window… one of them rocking with laughter while the other one bites his burger. Deliciously choreographed diversity.

    1:06 “Did he have blue eyes? Like me?”. “NOO000ooo. Brown . YOU GUESSED WRONG STUPID. DUMB KID, WHAT, WERE YOU TOO YOUNG WHEN YOUR DAD DIED TO REMEMBER HIS EYE COLOUR?”. I’m going to stroke your face in a comforting but simultaneously condescending way so, in addition to your other flaws, you feel infantilized and intellectually inadequate.

    1:09 Mother walks off shot for just long enough to capture the feelings of isolation and abandonment before…

    1:10 …*THE LOGO REVEAL!* Smiles, happiness, eye contact… rhomboid battered fish? Note the logo was distinctly absent from the exterior shots just gone — wouldn’t want to associated the golden arches with sadness now, would we? Colour grading seems to get subtly warmer too. Outside McDonald’s = cold, sad, lonely. Inside McDonald’s = warm, happy, social.

    1:16 Oh wow, who knew a Filet-o-Fish® could be so poetic? The moment he opened the packaging the connection to his father he so desperately longed to find was revealed. The memory box of his father’s personal possessions was useless; true solace is found in boxes of fatty fish segments hastily cooked from frozen by a minimum wage labourer.

    1:22 “Tartar sauce, all down his chin” — aww, it’s like the father/husband lives on through the son. May as well try and tap into that lucrative widowed/single mother market in the final few seconds I guess. Maybe the son isn’t such a bitter disappointment to his mother after all. Maybe the deceased live on through the condiments in McDonald’s. Hope for us all.

    disclaimer: the comment was made by on youtube, but it is so funny, so I just want to repost it here 🙂

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