Advertising and Marketing

McDonald's patrons insulted by "Kneeling" ad


McDonald's is the latest international company to have an advertisement seen as offensive in China. Its latest in-store ad spot, "The Debt Collector", features a kneeling customer, leading viewers in Chengdu to accuse McDonald's of insulting all Chinese consumers.

The script is as follows (translated):

(Outside a music store)
Customer: Just one more week, one week...owner shakes his head Three days' time. Just three days, okay?
Owner: sternly How many times have I told you? Our discount period is over.
Customer: Sir, please, I'm begging you! kneels and grabs at the owner's trouser legs
Voice-over: Luckily McDonald's understands the pain I feel when I miss an opportunity, and it gives me 365 days of discounts.
A McDonald's representative says that the ad is gently satirizing the widespread practice of offering customers discounts that have all sorts of restrictions and limitations.

As in previous ad flaps, people in online forums are calling for boycotts, not having forgotten McDonald's earlier sin of classifying Taiwan as a country. And there's the requisite online survey, offered by NetEase, stuffed as usual.

Maybe the subject matter is just too sensitive. Toyota offended consumers last year in an ad featuring kneeling stone lions. Perhaps advertisers should leave kneeling to crime flicks and overacted romantic dramas.

- Photo and story from
Chengdu Economic Daily via China Advertising Association (in Chinese)
- Other Danwei posts on offensive ads: Nike, Nippon Paint
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