Popular burger chain Grill’d has been slammed for a controversial advertisement after a raft of complaints claiming it breached advertisement standards for violence and sexuality.
In the controversial ad, Grill’d vs Plastic Toys’, a cartoon version of McDonald’s mascot Ronald McDonald is seen opening up his yellow trench coat to two scared children in a dark alleyway.
Warning: The video footage below contains scenes of a sexual nature that may upset some viewers.
It’s then revealed the clown is trying to sell the children plastic toys that resemble those found in a happy meal.
Grill’d’s own burger mascot is then hailed a hero as he swoops in and defeats the clown, with the tagline ”he’s a righteous burger guy”.
Since the ad was launched, many complaints have been filed to Australia’s Ad Standards, labelling the ad as ‘sickening.’
“I know the brand Grill’d and I’m pretty sickened by this style of advertising which is a dig at McDonald’s, but it’s sexually focused at children,” one complaint read.
“I find it so inappropriate, not only in this day and age but at any stage of any era given society’s distaste of sexual violence against children.”
“The ad suggests that two children are in the process of being sexually assaulted. This is offensive and upsetting for various reasons, including being deeply disturbing to unsuspecting sexual assault victims watching the ad,” another complaint read.
The burger company later issued a statement in response to the complaints which defended the advertisement.
“We note that the advertisement depicts some forms of violence in a mild animated form,” Grill’d said.
“The cartoon nature of the violence is consistent with animated superhero programs and is justifiable in the context of the product being advertised in this fashion.”
“We note that the superhero persona of the burger is consistent with the messaging of the advertisement, being a “righteous” figure who combats against perceived “evils” in the industry (in this case, offering plastic toys to children as an enticement to purchase fast food products).”
The full statement was posted on the ad standards website.
Grill’d stated that it would modify the advertisement to take into account the concerns.
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