Ads of the World: McDonald’s Gay-Friendly Ad in France

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It’s not all recalls in recent new from McDonald’s. A rather bold marketing and PR move comes from France, where the fast food chain giant is running a gay-friendly advertisement. Usually, ads aim to attract customers, this however was described as a political statement by political commentator Bill O’Reilly and others.

But for McDonald’s things are different. They were not attempting to make a political statement, but to acknowledge a social change, to “fit in” if you want. Stephane Xiberras, president and creative director of BETC Euro RSCG, the agency that designed the campaign (and also designed the record-breaking Rollerbabies spot for Evian), said in a statement that advertising is often based on hyperbole. This is true, but not for the gay-friendly McDonald’s ad that appears simple, credible, a possible scenario every day, in any part of the world.

The ad is one of the three currently running in France under the slogan “Come as You Are” (vennez comme vous êtez). It was directed by Xavier Giannolli, who also directed the other two spots: Les Corps Impatients (Impatient Bodies) and Quand j’étais chanteur (When I was a singer). The ad campaign has been running on television and cinema for three weeks already. Particularly, the gay-friendly ad is surprising, coming from a company otherwise focused on family and children. But even the gay-friendly ad is focused on family and children, and family values.

The ad features a young man, talking on the phone with his lover, while his father is waiting in line at MacDonald’s. The father, obviously, has no knowledge of his son’s sexual orientation, as he describes his past success with the ladies, upon his return at the table: “Too bad your class is all boys… you could get all the girls” he says. The ad closes with a look full of disappointment, helplessness and yet understanding from the young man, a somehow sad smile, and the slogan “come as you are.”

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