McDonald’s Airs TV Commercial Featuring Homosexual Teen in France

June 3, 2010 - 8:31 PM
A McDonald's ad running in France gives a whole new meaning to the company's slogan, "I'm Lovin' It." 
(CNSNews.com) – A McDonald’s commercial  running in France gives a whole new meaning to the company’s slogan, “I’m Lovin’ It.”  The ad shows a teenage boy talking, apparently, to his homosexual boyfriend on a cell phone, followed by an awkward conversation with his father who does not know his son is gay.

To view the commercial on YouTube, click here.
 
According to McDonald’s, the ad “recognizes the diversity of McDonald’s customers in France.” Some homosexual activists in the United States, however, are not happy about the commercial and view it as an attempt to appeal to gays overseas while not reaching out to them in America.
 
The ad begins with the young man sitting at the restaurant table waiting for his father to come back with their food.  The boy pulls out a picture, then answers a cell phone call and says, “Hello?  I was thinking about you too.  I’m looking at our class picture.”  He continues, while running his thumb over the picture, saying, “I miss you too.  My dad’s coming, I have to hang up.”
 
The boy’s father sits down and says, “Is this your class picture?  You look just like me at your age.  Let me tell you, I was quite the ladies’ man!  Too bad your class is all boys, you could get all the girls.”
 
The boy silently smirks, and the message “come as you are” (venez comme vous etes) pops up.
 
CNSNews.com contacted the corporate media relations department at McDonald’s for clarification on the ad, and received an e-mail with the following statement from Lisa McComb, senior manager, Global Media Relations:
 
“The ad you’re referencing is one of a series of ads called ‘Come as You Are,’ which recognizes the diversity of McDonald’s customers in France.  This particular commercial was produced by McDonald's France and is running only in France.
 
“Each of our 117 markets around the world determines their own path on advertising and marketing, which is nothing new at McDonald’s.  Advertising has always varied around the world.”
 
CNSNews.com’s repeated attempts for further clarification about the ad from McComb were not answered.
 
Peter Sprigg, a senior fellow for policy studies at the conservative Family Research Council, spoke to CNSNews.com about the intent of the McDonald’s ad.
 
“This may be the first and only time I agree with the Huffington Post,” Sprigg said, citing the liberal Web site where he first saw the ad.  The Huffington Post said in their brief description of the ad, “It's unclear why they felt the need to air such an ad at all.”
 
“My first reaction is why did they feel it was necessary … to make an ad like this?” said Sprigg. “It struck me as strange. Did homosexuals not feel welcomed at McDonald’s in France already?”
 
McDonald’s ads usually promote new items, highlight special deals, or remind customers of the quality of the food.
 
Sprigg said, “It’s sort of a gratuitous effort to ingratiate themselves with homosexual activists and, in that sense, it’s saddening and disheartening for those of us who hold to traditional values.”
 
“I think what is happening in a lot of these major corporations is there is constant pressure upon them from pro-homosexual activists, both within and outside of the company,” Sprigg said.  “They are under constant pressure to demonstrate that they are gay-friendly, tolerant, etcetera -- and unfortunately, to be honest, they’re not under as continual pressure from pro-family people to demonstrate that they’re pro-family, that they support traditional values and so forth.” 
 
According to Sprigg, “Sometimes it’s just that the squeaky wheel gets the grease, and the pro-homosexual activists are very good at being a squeaky wheel.”
 
The National Gay and Lesbian Chamber of Commerce (NGLCC) is also unhappy about the McDonald’s ad.
 
The NGLCC co-founders, Justin Nelson and Chance Mitchell, wrote a letter  to James Skinner, the vice chairman and chief executive officer of McDonald’s Corporation. It states: “It is the intention of this letter to inform you of the souring state of relations between our two organizations and express our utter dismay at the blatant geographic pandering to the LGBT community in the recently released TV ad in France, while McDonald’s has continued to distance itself from the LGBT segment in the United States.”
 
LGBT stands for lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people.
 
The NGLCC letter goes on to say, “We must share with you our sincere regret with the way McDonald’s has handled our honest outreach and sincere attempts at building a mutually beneficial relationship.”
 
“To allow people to believe that McDonald’s is the kind of partner portrayed in this ad would be a complete failure on our part to serve as an honest and trusted resource for LGBT people and our families to help make informed decisions in the marketplace,” the NGLCC co-founders wrote.  “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.”
 
“We sincerely hope that McDonald’s will reconsider its position and that the company will again show its support for LGBT people, our families and our businesses -- not just where it is politically expedient, but around the globe,” wrote Nelson and Mitchell.
 
When asked about the possibility of McDonald’s running a similar ad in the United States, Peter Sprigg said, “I certainly think it would be appropriate to warn McDonald’s that anything like this in the American market would not be well-received and would trigger a backlash.”