A few weeks ago I featured McDonald’s “Come As You Are” commercial currently airing in France. Naturally, the ad created a stir of controversy, mostly within the close-minded consumer arena of the United States. Bill O’Reilly, in his infinite wisdom, compared the advertising effort to marketing to Al Qaeda members. Others have said the ad is just unsettling and unnecessary.
Not surprisingly, McDonald’s has announced that it won’t air the ad in the U.S. What is surprising (or maybe not) is the bonehead way Chief Operating Officer Don Thompson announced it in an interview with The Chicago Tribune. “[A]t McDonald’s, there are core values we stand for and the world is getting much closer. So we have a lot of conversations. We’re going to make some mistakes at times. (We talk) about things that may have an implication in one part of the world and may be the cultural norm in another part of the world. And those are things that, yes, we’re going to learn from. But, you’re right, that commercial won’t show in the United States.”
The quote drips with homophobia, and GLBT groups across the country are demanding an apology. Most notably, the National Gay & Lesbian Chamber of Commerce has cut all ties with McDonald’s saying in a letter, “We strongly believe that McDonald’s plan to distance itself from LGBT and other diverse business segments, coupled with the release of the French TV ad, is ill advised and counter to the spirit of good business and sound ethics.”
What started as an effort to demonstrate the company’s inclusiveness and to “recognize the diversity of McDonald’s customers in France” has turned into a PR nightmare. The only thing McDonald’s has demonstrated is its internal corporate homophobia and its propensity to spinelessly give into anti-gay loudmouths like O’Reilly. I would boycott McDonald’s, but I already avoid that place like the plague.