The headline "You're Not Alone" coupled with a stark image of a woman covering her face, as if in despair, clearly parodies the usual PSA look. The subline "Millions of people love the Big Mac" and the toll-free number make it clear it's for McDonald's, and not some stress caused depression. These ads appeared all over Boston subway system last week, amused people were sharing photos of them on social media, and somewhere a creative team was likely high-fiving each other as this is the type of thing that does well in awards. But.... everyone I know has a big but... the ad was not approved of by McDonald's.. What what! Ghosts ads in the USA, say it ain't so?
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.
-- McDonald's spokesperson Nicole DiNoia