McDonald's apologizes For Big Mac 'You're Not Alone' mental health scam ad

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

about the author

Dabitch Creative Director, CEO, hell-raising sweetheart and editor of Adland. Globetrotting Swede who has lived and worked in New York, London, San Francisco, Amsterdam, Copenhagen and Stockholm.

Comments (4)

  • Dabitch's picture

    It's easy to create great ads when one doesn't seek client approval.

    Here's the thing though, a certain demographic of hipster-irony-youth probably thought this was very funny. They are also the target that McD's has failed to keep attracting, and the people McD's wants coming in, because when they have babies the kids meals take over and when the kids become teens they hang out and so the circle keeps on rolling. This is, while very off brand in tone, pretty good for that target. It's just running in the wrong place because Working Mom might not thing the PSA spoof is as funny, and she tends to treat the kids to McD's on weekends.

    The trickiest thing about ads is to attract new customers while not alienating the ones you already have.

    Apr 15, 2013
  • kidsleepy's picture

    I also think we're just getting more sensitive and losing our sense of humor. I mean how many times has this fake psa execution been done?

    Apr 16, 2013

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