McDonald’s, makers of fine cardboard and “meat”-putty, has long had a strained relationship with the LGBTQ community which makes their recent release of a pro-gay ad in Taiwan all the more notable.
They were a big sponsor of the 2014 Sochi Olympics, even as LGBTQ activists blasted them for staying silent on Russia’s anti-gay laws. In 2010, McDonald’s cut its ties with the National Gay and Lesbian Chamber of Commerce (NGLCC) after a conservative boycott following the airing of a French ad depicting a gay son and his clueless heterosexist dad (below).
While that ad aired in France, McDonald’s wi-fi in New Zealand restaurants were blocking LGBT sites — and we weren’t “loving it.” Shortly afterwards, the NGLCC called the French ad, “[a] blatant geographic pandering to the LGBT community… while McDonald’s has continued to distance itself from the LGBT segment in the United States.”
Fast-forward to today when McDonald’s Taiwan released the ad above, showing a son coming out to his dad in the most awkward and indirect way possible: writing it on a coffee cup. The minute-thirty-second ad plays like a short film, down to the matte filter and the dramatic pause as the dad angrily stomps away to get some coffee after
hearing reading his son’s news.
Apparently, the caffeine calms the dad down(?) as the equally-awkward father writes out his acceptance of his son on a coffee cup as well. What. The. Hell? Some Asian cultures use indirectness to avoid offending others, but this is ridic. Like father, like son?
Anyway, it’s actually kinda a sweet commercial, and a sign of progress in a country that just elected a pro-LGBT President, especially as Taiwan’s neighbor China recently banned all depictions of gay people on TV. Unsurprisingly, a group called Alliance of Taiwan Religious Groups for the Protection of Family has opposed the ad for “openly promoting gay issues.” Whatever.
Between pissing off both the gay and religious communities though, McDonald’s can’t win. The reason: although the company has pro-LGBT employee policies, it has refused to take clear action on LGBT social issues, offering no significant support of the LGBTQ movement in America or elsewhere beyond two measly commercials. They’re a bit like Hallmark — their pro-gay advertising is as hard to swallow as their food when they won’t put any real social action behind their pro-gay ads.