Sunday 26 January 2020

McDonald's says sorry over 'Sundae Bloody Sundae' ads

The poster in a McDonald’s restaurant in Portugal
The poster in a McDonald’s restaurant in Portugal

McDonald's has issued an apology over a Halloween marketing campaign for its ice cream desserts using the words "Sundae Bloody Sundae".

On the day known as Bloody Sunday in January 1972, British soldiers shot dead 13 unarmed innocent civilians during a civil rights march on the streets of Derry.

The wording of the campaign appears to have been inspired by the song Sunday Bloody Sunday by U2, which is about the shootings.

The appearance of the phrase on posters for a two-for-one offer on strawberry sundaes sparked a storm of outrage on social media.

A tweet by Twitter user MyLimes Na gCopaleen with a photo of the "Sundae Bloody Sundae" poster and the words "Portugal is cancelled" went viral after being posted on Wednesday evening.


McDonald's Portugal was quick to apologise and cancel the marketing initiative, saying: "The campaign was meant to celebrate Halloween and the brand never intended to make any connection to historical events or to insult anyone in any way.

"We sincerely regret any offence this activation may have caused."

McDonald's Portugal added in a media statement yesterday that the posters had "already been removed from the restaurants".

However, when contacted by the BBC, campaigner Kate Nash, whose brother William Nash was among the 13 who died on Bloody Sunday, said: "I am aware of the McDonald's ad campaign.

"I have to say, it is not that offensive to me.

"This is in Portugal and highly unlikely that people there have sat down with the intention to offend about the events here in Ireland. Perhaps just in their innocence they have settled on this slogan, without making any connection to Bloody Sunday."

The Halloween howler is not the first time a company has had to apologise for trampling on historical sensitivities here.

Ice cream giant Ben and Jerry's apologised to consumers in 2006 after releasing "Black and Tan" ice cream, a reference to the mixing of stout and pale ale that failed to take into account the notorious Black and Tans irregular British troops who gained a reputation for brutality during the Irish War of Independence.

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