Talk about a bad sign!
A McDonald’s in Cornwall, England is, well, … under fire for putting up a bus shelter ad for a McCrispy chicken sandwich right next to a sign for the crematorium that’s located across the street.
“Although I can see the funny side, it is tasteless and I’m sure some grieving family members won’t like to see it when visiting Penmount for the funeral and cremation of a loved one,” one anonymous woman said of the choice of advertisement, per local outlet Cornwall Live.
The advertisement caught a lot of people’s attention online as it’s in a particularly busy area on route A309 between Truro and Carland Cross.
A spokesperson for the fast-food chain told the outlet that the advertisement would be removed.
“We were unaware of the road sign in the vicinity of this bus stop,” the company said. “However, in light of the concerns raised by CornwallLive, we have asked for our advertisement to be removed.”
Cornwall Live originally posted a photo of the advertisement on their Instagram account where people began debating whether or not the advertisement was offensive or if the coincidence was funny.
“My mum’s funeral was there in October last year, I think that is in bad taste sign for fast food, maybe put there as a joke it should be removed pronto,” one woman commented.
“I think it’s funny in a twisted way,” another argued. “People have [too] much time on their hands these days.”
The outlet then shared on Sunday that the ad had already been replaced by a sign offering an admissions pass to a local art gallery.
“Right next to a sign for Penmount Crematorium, in Truro, the previous McCrispy burger image is now being compared to a new advertisement which reads ‘get your locals pass’,” the outlet wrote on social media. “It is however an advert for Tate St Ives, and not a regular pass to be cremated.”
Maybe it’s best for all involved if the advertisement space just stays blank for a little bit.
McDonald’s has been forced to remove a billboard placed right next to a crematorium in Singapore following numerous complaints calling the inappropriate placement “offensive”, reports the BBC.
The ad featured a meal with the tagline “Funny in a Twisted Way”, triggering immediate backlash on social media, with people citing insensitivity toward families and friends of those who had recently passed away or have been cremated.
After being pulled from the side of a road, McDonald’s released an apology statement to say that it had requested the outdoor advertiser remove the advertisement “as soon as we heard about it.”
The controversy provides a reminder of the need for a greater awareness of cultural sensitivities when advertising. Choosing the wrong location to advertise, even when the advertisement does not contain anything directly offensive, can be misinterpreted and lead to a PR disaster.
For this reason, McDonald’s in this case acted swiftly and responsibly to prevent any further backlash. Thankfully, that backlash was kept to an absolute minimum as the advertisement was removed as quickly as it was discovered.
While any advertisement can draw unwanted attention—especially in a society where everything is so heavily scrutinized—when creating any campaigns, companies need to ensure that they are doing right by their consumers. McDonald’s can be reassured with this knowledge that they acted in good faith by quickly removing this “Funny in a Twisted Way” ad.