A children’s charity says the controversial McDonald’s TV advert featuring a bereaved child was “insensitively portrayed”.
Winston’s Wish, a charity for bereaved children, responded after the widely criticised ad was dropped amid claims of exploiting child bereavement.
The Dad advert shows a boy talking with his mother about his late father while sitting in one of the fast food chain’s restaurants.
The ad’s conversation between the boy and his mother begins with him wondering what he had in common with his father.
He is then shown sitting in a McDonald’s restaurants with his mother, where she reveals that they shared a love of the same burger, a Filet-o-Fish, with the mother saying: “That was your dad’s favourite too.”
The advert first aired on May 12 and was originally set to run seven weeks, before McDonald’s hastily announced they would stop showing it from May 17.
As a society, we must not be afraid to recognise and talk about children’s griefFergus Crow
Fergus Crow, CEO of the charity which has drop-in centres in Wigan and Leigh, was pleased with the fast-food chain’s decision to cancel the campaign, citing it as a major step towards the voices of the bereaved being heard.
“We’re not surprised that some people have viewed the McDonald’s advert as exploiting children’s grief,” he said.
“We are pleased that the voices of bereaved children and their families have been heard. This is a major step.
“As a society, we must not be afraid to recognise and talk about children’s grief.”
Mr Crow also urged the fast-food giant to take advantage of the spotlight placed on the advert, saying: “If McDonald’s is serious about making a difference, they could use their voice to let children, young people and families know that help is out there.”
Fellow bereavement charity Grief Encounter said it has received “countless calls” from parents of bereaved children saying it had caused them upset.
A McDonald’s spokeswoman 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.
“We will also review our creative process to ensure this situation never occurs again.”