McDonald's Pulls Offensive Ad In Boston

From Censorpedia


Artist: Arnold MPG (Advertising Firm)

Year: 2013

Date of Action: April, 2013

Region: North America

Location: Boston

Subject: Political/Economic/Social Opinion

Medium: Commercial Advertising, Photography

Confronting Bodies: McDonald's

Description of Artwork: A poster placed on Boston mass transit featured a photo of a despondent woman with her head buried in her hands next to the words, “You’re Not Alone,” followed by the sentence, “Millions of people love the Big Mac.” At the bottom of the ad was a 1-800 number (800-244-6227) that is McDonald’s corporate line.

The Incident: A locally released McDonald's ad quickly went viral after its installation on Boston's Orange Mass Transit Line that seemed to mock those suffering from mental illness, addiction, depression, and suicidal tendencies. After David Yamada, a law professor at Boston’s Suffolk University Law School, saw the ad, he immediately blogged about it on the university's blog New Workplace Institute. He called the ad insensitive and found it to be too close to the real thing for it to be funny. While the subway car was filled with other spoof offs of common ad genres, this parody of depression services struck up controversy. The new ad campaign was targeted for younger audiences but apparently has hit a new low.

Results of Incident: McDonald's did not approve of the ad campaign and released a statement apologizing for the insensitive ads. Arnold MPG, a worldwide advertising firm headquartered in Boston, took responsibility for the campaign and conceded that they didn't follow the proper ad-approval process that McDonald's requires. The firm’s president, Pam Hanlin, released a statement saying it was the firm's, and not McDonald's, fault for the ads and that they are sorry to anyone that they might have offended. The ad was an unintentional error on the firm's behalf and they are in the process of improving their ad approval processes for the future.