still from advert showing mother and son walkingImage copyright McDonald’s
Image caption A scene from the advert

McDonald’s has decided to withdraw its latest TV advert, which was criticised for exploiting childhood bereavement.

The fast food giant had already apologised for “upset” caused by the advert, first aired on 12 May.

It features a boy who struggles to find something in common with his dead father until he goes to McDonald’s.

A spokeswoman for McDonald’s said the British advert will be removed from all media this week and it will review its creative process to avoid a repeat.

“It was never our intention to cause any upset,” read the statement.

“We are particularly sorry that the advert may have disappointed those people who are most important to us – our customers.

“Due to the lead-times required by some broadcasters, the last advert will air on Wednesday 17 May.

“We will also review our creative process to ensure this situation never occurs again.”

‘Countless’ complaints

The campaign, from London-based advertising agency Leo Burnett, had been scheduled to run for seven weeks.

In the advert, the boy asks his mum about his absent dad, sparking some reminiscence.

The boy is left to wonder whether he and his father had anything in common, until he arrives at a McDonald’s restaurant and orders a Filet-O-Fish and the mother says: “That was your dad’s favourite too.”

Bereavement charity, Grief Encounter, had “countless calls” from parents saying their bereaved children had been upset by the advert.

The Advertising Standards Authority also said it had received complaints and would “carefully assess them to see whether there are grounds to investigate”.

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