Client: McDonald’s
Agency: BET Euro RSCG
Territory: France
Verdict: ()

The latest in a series of television ads for McDonald’s in France, under the rubric “Come as you are”, has made quite an impact on both sides of the Atlantic.

It features a handsome French teenager sitting in McDonald’s cooing on his mobile phone to his sweetheart as he lovingly paws their school photo. When his father arrives with a tray of burgers, he notices the photo and says: “Too bad your class is all boys …you could get all the girls.”

The son’s wry smile confirms the father’s blissful ignorance about his son’s homosexuality.

The ad cleverly plays on the country’s love-hate relationship with the US. France is the second-largest market for the fast-food chain after the US. The French love burgers and fries. They love their “McDo”. And they love liberal, progressive America where anybody can be who they want. The ad suggests McDo embodies this spirit and is beyond prejudice.

It has met with approval from gay bloggers, although it is not really targeting a minority segment. Speaking to sexual freedom and rebellion has a much broader appeal among young people.

But perhaps the ultimate reason for the ad’s success is the consternation of some US pundits who have attacked it for celebrating homosexuality. When McDo looks unwholesome to conservative America it is likely to appeal all the more to the French palate.

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