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McDonald's Apologizes for Boston Ads

Photo: Facebook/Jed Hresko via

McDonald's has apologized for and removed a series of ads on the T that included one poster that was a little too similar to the kind of ads posted by mental help outreach services. The campaign parodied the type of ads frequently seen on public transportation, including one that looks like an ad for a college degree for seniors and another for a law firm. The most objectionable of the series, seen above, includes the tagline "You're not alone" and, in smaller print, "Millions of people love the Big Mac." The ads were spotted by Suffolk University New Workplace Institute blogger and law professor David Yamada, who wrote "McDonald's is now pitching Big Macs by making fun of public service ads for people who may need mental health counseling." Yamada later added an update saying that McDonald's didn't give "formal approval" for the ads and ordered them to be removed.

He also writes "I deliberately tried to write the post in a way that was pointed but non-inflammatory, so it's quite interesting to see how something like this grows legs." What legs? Several local publications picked up the story, including UniversalHUB, Boston Magazine, and the Boston Business Journal. And this one publication called Time, who shared this statement from a McDonald's spokesperson:

A local print ad displayed on the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority (MBTA) was recently brought to our attention. We can confirm this ad was not approved by McDonald's. And, as soon as we learned about it, we asked that it be taken down immediately. We have an approval process in place, with our marketing and advertising agencies, to ensure that all advertising content is consistent with our brand values. Regrettably, in this incident, that process was not followed. We sincerely apologize for this error.

The ads were created by the Boston-based international ad agency Arnold Worldwide.

· McDonald's Big Mac Ads Hit a New Low [Minding The Workplace]
· McDonald's Didn't Approve Those Orange Line Ads [UH]
· McDonald's Also Didn't Like Their Controversial MBTA Ads [BM]
· Arnold Apologizes for McDonald's Mental Illness Ads on MBTA [BBJ]
· McDonald's Compares Loving Big Macs with Mental Illness [Time]