McDonald's pulls ad, but begs to differ on 'insult'

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 21 June, 2005, 12:00am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 21 June, 2005, 12:00am

The Xian branch of McDonald's has pulled a commercial that viewers found insulting.

It is the latest example of a multinational rubbing their mainland customers the wrong way, following Nike's 'blasphemous' kung fu advert about six months ago.

In the McDonald's advert, a Chinese man is shown kneeling before an electronics seller, begging for a discount. But the man's coupon has expired and the vendor rejects him. The advert goes on to say people do not have to beg to take advantage of a McDonald's promotion.

According to the Huashang Daily, 80 per cent of Xian residents polled felt insulted by the commercial.

One woman said the commercial suggested the integrity of Chinese people was so poor they would get down on their knees and beg for a discount, the newspaper reported.

Marina Leung, senior director for corporate relations at McDonald's China Development Company in Hong Kong, which oversees the mainland market, said the commercial was merely trying to use humour to attract customers.

'It is meant to convey our message in an exaggerated manner. As far as I know, our advertisement has been vetted by mainland authorities.'

Although the Xian branch has already pulled the advertisement, Xian authorities announced they would charge McDonald's with violating the mainland's advertising regulations, according to the Huashang Daily.