Thursday, June 3, 2010

Gay People Are Allowed to Eat Hamburgers


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."

29 comments:

  1. Very funny. In a slightly sad way. The ad, I mean. How on earth do you find these things???

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  2. I watched the ad before I read your post. I applaud you. I'm sure they *meant* well, but it didn't come off very well.

    I think I would've done a series of commercials. All starting with a diverse crowd munching away and then each commercial would 'highlight' a snippet of conversation from one of the tables...the end result being that we're all welcome/human/normal.

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  3. What the? That was just weird. Is there some kind of backlash against Mickey D's in France so they felt compelled to do the ad? Do the McDonald's people believe gay people don't eat at Mickey D's so they needed to target them so they'd come in and spend money? Very weird.

    Helen
    Straight From Hel

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  4. Gosh, that's pretty shitty advertising. Surely there would have been someone on the committer whose idea this was saying that they shouldn't be singled out. I just can't imagine no one thinking about that. How odd. The add should have had, old, young, gay, teenage, gothic, diabled, etc couples all sitting together. You'd think that's be logical, right?

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  5. Where do you find these things? Wow. I'm kind of speechless over that ad. I think someone put something funky in the McChickens at McHeadquarters. Yikes.

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  6. I live in france and am well acquainted with the 'come as you are' commercials. This is the first time I've seen this one and I don't think it's being showed on mainstream tv here (and in all honesty I'd be surprised if they did). It could just be an internet publicity. In any case, I think its message is about being true to yourself whether your gay, straight, mother, child, rich, homeless, etc... I think mcdonalds has run out of slogans that apply to the general public and are yet personalized. 'Have it YOUR way' 'come as YOU are'

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  7. oh my god, you know I'm french and i can tell you I had never seen this ad before (probably due to the fact that i hate tv and never watch it), but i'm so glad i don't watch it everytime something so scandalous is broadcasted. I mean, how more offensive can you be ? it's the kind of comercials that has the opposite effect from what it was aimaing at. So gay people are affraid to go to public restaurants? really? ROFL maybe ? geese it's so insane ! But it really shows, like you said, that they have not one crumb of an idea of how/what people think. All they car about is how they look next to other firms and their social image in the business world. Great article

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  8. That is just bizarre! Why oh why would they do that? The mind boggles.

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  9. How ridiculous! It's like they're patting themselves on the back and begging for attention.

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  10. LOL, Well said. I didn't know eating at McDonald's had ever been an issue for the gay and lesbian communities.

    You know where else it's okay to be gay? Parades.

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  12. Your last line summed it up beautifully!

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  13. I had no idea that your sexual preferrence had anything to do with what you eat or where you eat??? I'm totally confused. Is there a (straight) missionary position friendly restaraunt?

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  14. I found it interesting that the father hasn't got a clue that his son is gay. Which means that even unaware, oblivious parents are allowed to come as THEY are to McDonald's too. :)

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  15. I cannot believe a mega-corporation like McDonalds could produce something as crass as this.
    If they had pictured people in pyjamas eating a McMuffin breakfast, their tag "Come as you Are" would have been funny denoting McDonalds as a relaxed place to eat where you won't be judged or stereotyped.
    However, I suppose this ad is only a reflection of the quality of the food they serve - junk!!!

    I L-O-V-E this blog!!!!

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  16. Hey! Thanks for stopping by...I am speechless about this ad...It is like that person we all know who gives you a compliment in an insulting way...

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  17. But how would you know the couple were gay unless they were snogging (which shouldn't be allowed in a restaurant anyway)?

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  18. That was the worst commercial. So insulting. Although, I do love listening to spoken French. So pretty.

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  19. McDonalds believes it doesn't matter your age, ethnicity, gender, sexual preference, or even how fat they make you.

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  20. There's an award for you on my Blog, Cheers!

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  21. I'm pansexual, so I can't wait for when McDonalds do an advert especially for me!

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  22. I hated Mac Ds anyway but this make me like them even less. Once again you make me think. Thank you

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  23. The message I got from that commercial is that if your a gay guy, your dad might not accept you, but we at McDonalds will. Not really sure that's what they were going for.

    I do like the idea of the "come as you are" campaign though. Too bad they don't really seem to be able to implement it very well.

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  25. wonderful blog with a great point. :)
    just seems like a very awkward mcd's commercial.

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  26. Such an ad on American TV would evoke the ire of our evangelical Conservatives and result in a boycott of McDonalds. Too bad... it would likely result in the religious wingnuts living longer.

    By the way, commenter "anastacia" is a spammer; note the "generic" comment and the ads for viagra. You might want to delete that one.

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  27. So are we not allowed to have any ads with homosexuals lest they be singling them out? Personally I thought it was a nice video along the theme of "Come as you are" and also scores points for making a political statement that McDonalds is firmly on those who believe in equal rights for homosexuals. All this over analysis misses the point of the ad

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  28. Nice article Val! I haven't seen the ad here in Japan but it's hilarious, maybe in the future I should look out for the McDonalds stores that put up "Gay-friendly" signs? Oh well, the guy's cute and has one sexy accent, so that's good in my books!

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