McDonald's apologized for causing upset with their new TV advertisement in Britain after receiving widespread criticism for exploiting childhood bereavement, however, refused to stop broadcasting it.
In the 90-second ad produced by London-based firm Leo Burnett, a young boy dealing with the grief of the death of his father gets upset after finding out from his mother that he had little in common with his father. The boy later becomes happy after his mother tells him that they share the same favorite McDonald's menu item.
A spokeswoman of the fast food giant said: "We apologize for any upset this advert has caused. This was by no means an intention of ours." But she said the campaign will continue to be aired.
U.K. bereavement charity Grief Encounter told the BBC that it had received "countless calls" from upset viewers who had been affected by the advert.
"McDonald's have attempted to speak to their audience via an emotionally driven TV campaign," the charity's president Dr. Shelley Gilbert said.
"However, what they have done is exploit childhood bereavement as a way to connect with young people and surviving parents alike — unsuccessfully.
Social media users have heavily criticized the advert and accused McDonald's of "exploiting the emotional trauma of childhood grief to sell sandwiches."