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Child-exposing Ronald McDonald lookalike lands Australian chain in hot water

A recent advertisement made by burger chain Grill’d has been slammed by the Ad Standards board for suggesting sexual violence to its audience, after it showcased a Ronald McDonald-like clown seemingly exposing himself to children in an alley.

The clown is quickly shown to be showing the children a selection of plastic toys which are hanging from its trench coat, only to be apprehended by the Grill’d Burger mascot.

“The majority of the Panel considered that the opening scene of the advertisement… was menacing and suggestive of sexualised violence,” reads a report by Ad Standards.

“The suggestion of sexual violence at the start of the advertisement was extremely inappropriate in an advertisement for burgers.”

The ad in question.

The Panel said there was no link between what was being shown and the product, with physical and sexual violence, promiscuity and abuse having nothing to do with burgers.

Worse still, the standard with which the ad explored these themes was not treated with the sensitivity they deserve – especially when considering the ad is seemingly targeted to children.

Grill’d initially denied it had breached the Advertising Code of Conduct with the ad, but has now said it will take steps to modify the ad to take the Panel’s concerns into account.

This isn’t the first time Grill’d has run afoul of the Standards Board, having been targeted in 2016 for a series of posters which represented one of its burgers as ‘The Good Schnitzel’, but with some letters bolded to also suggest it is ‘The Good Shit’.

In both cases, the Standards Board were alerted to Grill’d advertising through customer complaints.

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