McDonald's Father's Day goes horribly wrong; sparks outrage for exploiting a fatherless child's grief

After series of complaints, fast food giant Mcdonald's has withdrawn the advertisement that showed a boy being compared with his dead father.

McDonald’s wanted to emphasise on emotion with their latest advertisement where a mother tells her son about his late father.  The fast food giant’s latest British commercial features a boy who is struggling to find something in common with his dead father. The ad progresses with the boy being unable to find a coherent similarity between his father’s almost perfect image. As the mother narrates all the achievements of her late spouse, like being good with girls (yes, you read that right), the boy looks down on himself to see that none of the traits fit him. The only saving grace for the boy, thanks to McDonald’s is a dish on their menu. When the boy orders a Filet-O-Fish sandwich his mother quips,”That was your dad’s favorite, too.”

The theme of the ad sparked discontent almost instantaneously with bereaved families stating that the commercial was insensitive to their plight. The advertisement first aired on May 12 and was scheduled to run for seven weeks. It was also supposed to coincide with Father’s Day as planned by McDonald’s ad campaign. The Bereavement Charities was unhappy with the ad with the Founder and President, Dr. Shelley Gilbert stating that:

“McDonald’s have attempted to speak to their audience via an emotionally driven TV campaign. However, what they have done is exploit childhood bereavement as a way to connect with young people and surviving parents alike–unsuccessfully.”


Slamming the ad on social media was only the tip of the iceberg, people have gone ahead to file complaints with UK’s Advertising Standards Authority (ASA). ASA said it had received nearly 100 complaints this week and the adverse objections are still pouring in. A spokesman at ASA reportedly said in a statement: “Complainants have objected that it is inappropriate and insensitive to use bereavement and grief to sell fast food. Some complainants have referenced the proximity to Father’s Day. We’re carefully assessing the complaints but no decision has been reached on whether there are grounds to launch an investigation.”

Widows called out the campaign as “offensive” and bashed the multinational brand as they took to social media to vent their anger. While the ad may have been made with good intentions, it failed to create the required impact and failed miserably if the Twitter reactions are a hint.

On the flip side, some of the viewers of the commercial defended McDonald’s and failed to see the reason for such anger being meted out against the popular fast-food chain.