Thursday, June 3, 2010
In the spirit of probing curious television advertisements, McDonald’s France has released a new ad campaign, nobly entitled “Come as You Are.” The following ad targets gay teenagers, and features a handsome teenage boy, sitting with his father at a McDonald’s restaurant:
How touching it is to see the international fast food giant welcoming gay youth into their stores with warm and open arms! As the compassionate acoustic melody drifts tenderly in the background, McDonald’s assures us that homosexuals (or at least, the closeted ones of perceptibly normal appearances) can be comfortable sitting down at one of their trusted franchises to relax and enjoy a Big Mac. In all honesty, I’d never realised how difficult it had been for homosexuals to eat at McDonald’s prior to this ad, let alone the unimaginable dilemmas of eating at all the other restaurants that apparently don’t accept gay people to “come as they are.”
Such campaigns undoubtedly mean well (forgetting for a moment the obvious profit-boosting agenda), but the portrayal and general message of the ad seems to further separate the gay community from the rest of society. The last time I checked, we all ate the same foods. It’s amusing to watch the clumsy attempts of large corporations at striving for political correctness, positioning themselves to somehow believe that those of a particular sexual orientation require their own special type of advertising campaign. The fuzzy declaration by McDonald's demonstrates the bizarre trend of self-congratulating ourselves on not endorsing mindless bigotry, or perpetrating sordid hate crimes. The worldwide applause for this particular advertisement reveals the depressing reality of people feeling uplifted by the simple incident of anti-discrimination. Since when did people (and corporations) receive medals and verses of praise simply for doing the right thing? A better option for McDonald’s perhaps would’ve been to depict a gay couple, alongside various other couples, without singling them out as an entirely separate market. I wonder what our reactions would have been if we had an ad depicting a black, disabled or Islamic customer, also branded with the joyous tagline: “Come as You Are."