The Huffington Post | By Ron Dicker Posted: 04/10/2013 4:38 pm EDT | Updated: 04/11/2013 3:01 pm EDT
This wasn't the Big Mac attack that McDonald's had in mind.
After a super-size backlash, the fast-food giant has apologized for a Big Mac print ad that parodies mental health outreach, Time reports. McDonald's says it didn't approve the spot in the first place.
The poster was featured recently on Boston mass transit and shows a woman, clearly in anguish, accompanied by the words "You're Not Alone. Millions of people love the Big Mac." A help line listed below the ad reportedly connects to McDonald’s corporate line.
SCROLL DOWN TO SEE THE AD.
The restaurant emailed the following statement to The Huffington Post:
A local print ad displayed on the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority (MBTA) was recently brought to our attention. We can confirm this ad was not approved by McDonald’s. And, as soon as we learned about it, we asked that it be taken down immediately. We have an approval process in place, with our marketing and advertising agencies, to ensure that all advertising content is consistent with our brand values. Regrettably, in this incident, our agency did not follow that process.
Pam Hamlin, president of Arnold, the ad house that produced the poster, confirmed in a statement sent to HuffPost that McDonald's had not approved, and that the ad was an "unintended error."
A few days before the Big Mac bustup, the ad was tweeted around by Boston commuters. Then, Minding the Workplace blogger David Yamadacalled out McDonald's for mocking those who need mental health counseling. He wrote there are too many depressed -- even suicidal -- people for the ad to be funny.
While some commenters at Universal Hub said Yamada was being overly sensitive, AdWeek pointed out the hazards of any company poking fun at mental health issues. The trade publication cited 7-Eleven's Facebook post in 2011: "May is Mental Health Month..or so the SHADOWY CONSPIRATORS WHO CONTROL THE WORLD would have you believe." The convenience chain took it down in a hurry.
What do you think of this Big Mac ad? Let us know in the comments, or tweet us @HuffPostBiz.
Link to the story on the Huffington Post
Our Response written by Susan Rogers
April 12, 2013
Don Thompson, President and CEO
2111 McDonald's Drive
Oak Brook, IL 60523
Dear Mr. Thompson:
I am writing to thank McDonald’s for publicly disowning its insensitive “You Are Not Alone” ad campaign, which parodied outreach campaigns to individuals with mental health conditions (such as major depression, bipolar disorder and schizophrenia) and/or substance use conditions. As many others have commented, this campaign showed terrible insensitivity to individuals (such as myself) who are struggling with these painful challenges.
Perhaps even more to the point, many Americans have food addictions, and their difficulty avoiding sugar, excess salt (a Big Mac has nearly a thousand milligrams of sodium, nearly half the RDA), and excess fat (a Big Mac has 29 grams of fat) has contributed, in many instances, to their premature disability and death.
Ideally, instead of a mere apology, McDonald’s might demonstrate its contrition by sponsoring public service announcements highlighting the fact that the vast majority of people can and do recover from even the most serious mental health conditions and live meaningful and productive lives in the community. This would help counter the enormous amount of discrimination and stigma associated with mental health conditions.
Director of Special Projects