Thursday, June 3, 2010

Not lovin' it

McDonald's has apparently produced a gay-themed TV ad in France:
A new commercial for McDonald’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.

I realize that a certain segment of the population suffers from same-sex attraction. But the push to normalize homosexual activity, to force a narrative that insists that homosexual acts are normal and that the attraction is a good thing, is an attempt to make positive and good what is contrary to the moral law and to the teachings of many mainstream religions, Catholicism among them.

France, of course, doesn't have to worry that much about their (largely) nominally Catholic population having any objection to this ad. France's growing Islamic population, however, might, since Islam also views homosexual acts as sinful. At present, the Islamic population in France is not inconsiderable, accounting for about six percent of France's total population.

In America, of course, McDonald's is marketed as a family-friendly, child-welcoming restaurant. A commercial winking at the idea of a father's cluelessness regarding his homosexual teenage son's dating adventures would probably not fly here, given McDonald's market in this country. But that's one of the things I hate about huge multinational corporations--they can play the game of being all things to all people, and show ads with mothers, fathers, and small children in this country, and gay-friendly ads France, without apparently seeing any contradiction between the two.

McDonald's got into trouble two years ago over their support of a gay organization; pro-family groups organized a boycott at the time. In the present economy, some families have seen McDonald's as an inexpensive, family-friendly restaurant to take the kids to for an occasional treat--but this ad in France may make some people think twice about that choice.

I'm getting pretty tired of multinational corporations trying to override the religious and moral views of huge numbers of people so they can look trendy while selling fat-laden unhealthy food or other wasteful and unnecessary products. You might say I'm not lovin' it.


Anonymous said...

Obviously the ad was meant to be talked about for its shock value, not the content. The content is sickening, if it depicts sexual immorality in children with sly innuendo. McDonald's is a family restaurant. Here in the US, McDonald's feature rooms filled with bouncy balls and brightly colored childrens' games, as a place to hold a pre-teen birthday party. My son had good friends who were boys in the younger grades and we encouraged those friendships, but nothing to smirk about while watching burger ads.

Geoff G. said...

Really? With all the reasons to boycott McDonalds (crappy food, factory farming, childhood obesity, HFCS in everything), this is the straw that broke the camel's back?

Since that AFA boycott started in July, 2008, McDonald's stock price has increased by almost 20% and revenues and profits have basically remained flat or increased slightly (which ain't bad given the change in the economic environment over the last couple years). Financials.

So when you say "some" people may think twice about going to McDonald's on these grounds, you might more accurately say "one or two people who are really pissed off at gays for some reason" instead. Although, yes, more than one person can technically be "some," so I suppose counting you and Anonymous up there, you aren't incorrect.

If, however, you are dead set on this program of boycotting every corporation that's partnering with the NGLCC, here's a handy list to refer to.

Red Cardigan said...

Now, now, Geoff.

Pretend the situation was reversed, for a moment, and that the ad made fun of gays, instead of making a pro-gay statement. Would you feel as though a company that sells hamburgers has no business making a political statement against the gay lifestyle? I bet you would.

The way I see it, the homosexual population is about 4% (yes, I know Kinsey claimed 10%, but that number has never held up, while the 4% number has been reproduced in numerous surveys of people's sexual identities and habits). Why, in order to accommodate the sexual proclivities of 4% of the population a hamburger company feels the need to push a positive image of teenage gay exploration (instead of recognizing the terrible toll the struggle with same-sex impulses can take on so many of the young men and women who experience it) and, in doing so, dis the religious views of a sizable percent of the population of the country in which the ad aired (again, referring to the Muslims, as Catholicism in France is all but dead) I don't pretend to understand--but I *do* know that it's out of line.

Anonymous said...

Smirking about sexual preferences in teens is inappropriate in an ad campaign for a family restaurant promoting its 'family atmosphere'. Homosexuality in teens is not something to be made 'fun' of, especially when the father in the vignette seems unaware of his son's preferences. 'Come as you are' to use the French terminology is deliberately double entendre in the French McDonald's slogan campaign!

Anonymous said...

I'd start boycotting McDonalds except I already did, Burger King too. The helpful list, however, is encouraging me to take my business to Walgreens or Brooks instead of CVS, and I never did like Pepsi. Interesting to me that it's upscale motel chains like Marriot and Hilton that have signed on to this campaign rather than chains like Motel 6. I guess it must be that the gay community is richer than most of the people I hang out with.

Dennis N said...

"I realize that a certain segment of the population suffers from same-sex attraction."

The only reason they "suffer" is because of the actions of bigots. If they were treated like the people they are, they would be healthy and happy like most gay people.

Dennis N said...

I have to ask where you get those numbers from.

If not outside influence, what do you think causes gay people to "suffer"? You think being attracted to someone of the same sex in and of itself makes a person suffer? I don't see how. There's nothing inherently wrong with who you're attracted to, as long as they're a consenting adult.

Geoff G. said...

Actually, to tell you the truth, I don't make it a habit to discover the political leanings of any place I patronize.

I suppose that if they were particularly egregious, it might tilt me away from support. The situation really has never arisen. Maybe that's because, unlike Christians, it's only been fairly recently that companies have thought it worth their while to market to people like me.

But do I drink Bud Lite because they sponsor gay events? No, because Bud Lite is crap beer. Do I fly on American Airlines because they market to me? I suppose, but only if they're the cheapest option.

Likewise, I'm not really aware of any companies that have taken much of an anti-gay position. But unless they make me feel unwelcome, it's not really going to impact my buying decisions.

Good quality, fair value, good prices—that's what I look for.

In short, this smacks to me of good old Christian Entitlement Syndrome. Political Christians are so used to having everything their way that when the slightest thing doesn't (like a TV ad on the other side of the ocean), they go into a full-on meltdown.

But if it gives you any comfort, I won't eat at McDonald's either. But only because their food is nasty.

(Oh and 4% or 40%, oppressing a minority through the power of majority rule is still wrong, which is, in fact, precisely why we have a Constitution in the first place.)

David said...


I second Dennis's request for your statistics and the studies they are from.

As I indicated to you before, you used "research" from George Alan Rekers to support a point about the evils of gays adopting/raising children. It was incorrect and you failed to admit to this forgive me if I'm a bit skeptical at taking these claims on your word.

Geoff, good to see you commenting again :)