A new commercial for McDonaldâ€™s in France is generating a tremendous amount of Buzz online.
In the spot, a teenage boy sits in a McDonald’s booth, looking at his class picture, when his phone rings. “I was just thinking about you,” he says, with obvious affection. “I miss you, too” he replies, and then says that he has to go. His dad is coming to the booth with their food. Father sits across from son and comments that he was “quite the ladies’ man” when he was his son’s age. Dad then looks at the class picture and remarks that “it’s too bad” that his son’s class is all boys. The son can only smile.
The point, of course, is that the son is gay. Following that reveal, a tagline reads “Come as You Are” in French. “We wanted to show society the way it is today, without judging. There’s obviously no problem with homosexuality in France today,” Nathalie Legarlantezec, a McDonald’s spokesperson, told French media. The ad airs only in France, but thanks to online video sites, it quickly went viral. It already has well over one million views on YouTube.
According to Canada.com, the buzzy clip is the first ad from McDonald’s to feature a gay character. Support from the gay community has been very positive. Helen Kennedy, executive director of EGALE Canada, remarked, “It’s great that McDonald’s is putting it out there, and kudos to the creative team. It’s certainly a step in the right direction.”
Australia’s Brisbane Times explains that the ad is just one in a series that aims to “recognise the diversity of McDonald’s customers in France”. Australian Coalition for Equality spokesman Rodney Croome called the ad “refreshingly realistic” and “groundbreaking” in that it takes place in “one of the world’s most mainstream institutions, McDonald’s.”
A poll conducted by the Brisbane Times found that 82% of people found the ad charming, while only 18% found it “alarming.” However, not everyone is impressed. According to the New York Times, Planet Homo, a gay website, “criticized the company for featuring a young man who wonâ€™t disclose his sexuality to his father.” Conservative pundit Bill O’Reilly also had some choice words about the spot.