Wednesday, June 2, 2010


A McDonald's ad is making a statement about gay acceptance. I repeat: a McDonald's ad.

Okay, it's McDonald's France. It's part of the "come as you are" campaign, which has included such bizarre ads as this one:

It's kind of a weird progression, in context. "We'll serve anyone... Sith Lords, gay teenagers, whatever." But that's obviously not the intended point. The campaign has just taken a more realist and human turn.

Will it work? The ad is all over the Internet this week, and is certain to cause discussion and controversy of various kinds.

The Telegraph points to one YouTube comment: “They could never show that in the states, or the Christian right would boycott the restaurant forever.”

Others believe the ad also makes a statement about gay NON-acceptance. As the Gay Rights Blog points out:

"If McDonald's is 'come as you are,' why doesn't the young man's father know his son is gay? Why is it the son doesn't tell him at that moment? Are you really who you are if you have to put up with heterosexual assumptions about you, and don't feel you can challenge them? I'm just saying ..."

Or maybe the spot is showing how a shared moment at MacDoo gave a son the opportunity to open up to his Dad (that's how I interpret it). Nonetheless, an interesting move by the fast food giant. Because gay people should feel welcome to fatten themselves up on Big Macs just like everyone else.

What's your take on it?


  1. The Telegraph's claim might involve a bit of its own stereotyping. Yes, the ad would cause McDonald's a lot of grief in the US (and they probably won't run it there), but other big American companies have stood up and taken principled and very public stands on same-sex rights, despite shrill religious-right opposition (think Google's rainbow banner and open letter, Disney World's "gay days" [and support for gay couples getting married at its parks], or even GM's and Ford's insistence on providing same-sex benefits for employees).

    I think that the same-sex is on the brink of breaking into the US media mainstream, just like mixed-race was 40 years ago (when its opponents were just as shrill).

  2. Hi David: clarification — the Telegraph was just quoting a YouTube comment (and you know how those are!)

  3. This commercial strikes me as trying too hard, and then failing by being completely transparent.

    McDonald's is still McDonald's.

  4. Forgive me for sounding completely cynical, but I think McDonald's just feels safe enough now in advertising to a more accepted and lucrative market. You're right on when you said "Because gay people should feel welcome to fatten themselves up on Big Macs just like everyone else". But the ad itself doesn't bug me since that's what ads must do-sell. (Also I can't believe gay acceptance is taking so long, but I digress). Whether this will or not, I don't know since I'm not the target audience. But I do take your uncynical view in the possibility of the "shared moment" since McD's is often about "warm and fuzzy".