“McDonald’s should strongly consider recreating the French gay friendly ad for the U.S. market”, reads a recent Glaad blog entry.
On his side, Michael Musto, columnist for The Village Voice, decided to renounce on all Happy Meals and make a call to boycott McDonald’s.
This measure is similar to that taken in 2008 by the American Family Association when McDonald’s joined the National Gay & Lesbian Chamber of Commerce. At that time, the call for boycott worked just fine and McDonald’s decided to go backwards on its gay policy. We'll see if this call for action brings gay themes into US McDonald's golden arches.
Featured on television and movie theaters in France, one of McDonald's newest commercials portrays a young gay man talking to his boyfriend on the phone, while his father waits in the restaurant's line. Once back together, the father tells his son how successful he would be with girls, if only he were not in an all boys college. The clumsy remark is followed by the boy's awkward and kind of sad smile, while the ad closes with the campaign's slogan, "Come as you are" (Venez comme vous êtes).
OVER TWO MILLION VIEWS ON YOUTUBE
Uploaded and subtitled by Yagg, the commercial has received worldwide attention with almost two million views on Youtube and has been a polemic subject, especially since Bill O’Reilly insinuated on FOX News that McDonald’s might as well feature an Al-Qaeda ad, as part of this campaign. This comparison raised protests from the Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (Glaad) who demand a public apology from O’Reilly.
On his part, McDonald’s operation’s chief in the US confirmed during an interview for the Chicago Tribune that the commercial would not air in America): “[...] at McDonald’s there are core values we stand for and the world is getting much closer [...] (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”.
MCDONALD'S FRANCE IS NOT TARGETING GAYS
In France, contacted by Yagg, McDonald’s brand director, Nathalie Legarlantezec, denied that the fast food chain is targeting gays with the commercial and explained: “McDonald’s clientele in France is the country’s entire population, we don’t need to target anyone specific. We hope that this kind of picture will be able to touch anybody, homosexual or not. Personally, as a mother, I am not specifically concerned. And still, when I see that kid look up at his father... it gives me goose bumps. I find it beautiful and intense, and I think its positive that society has evolved in such way”.
According to Stéphane Xiberras, president and creative director of BETC Euro RSCG, the agency that created the campaign, the ad has received positive feedback from the gay community. However, critical voices denounce the marketing campaign as cynic and greedy. What do you think? Watch McDonald’s gay ad and judge by yourself.
This news comes on the heels of a string of controversies surrounding Weir during the recent Vancouver Games.
Apparently Stars on Ice sponsors Smuckers and IMG Entertainment found Weir to be too effeminate to be in their show, a US national figure-skating tour, so the tour had him banned under the family argument, according to Queerty, which writes that a source from the Tour leaked the information to GLAAD. Jennifer Cosgrove, a spokeswoman for Stars on Ice, vehemently denied the rumor:
"We are disappointed that there is untrue and inaccurate information being disseminated. Please be assured that the 'gender identity and sexual orientation' of cast members has never been a consideration in the selection of tour performers."
GLAAD had this to say: "To say that Johnny Weir is not family-friendly is clearly a jab at his supposed sexual orientation. Weir is very involved in his family's life. He helped his brother go to college and supports his family financially, since his father's handicap prohibits him from working."