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News: World

Wed 16 Jun, 2010
By Sam Bristowe

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'Big Cheese' at McDonalds discusses gay ad

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Following on from McDonalds ‘gay’ advert in France, which sparked controversy over in the US, the ‘big cheese’ at McDonalds, Don Thompson, has discussed the issue in an interview with the Chicago Tribune and how it wont make it's way over the pond to air to stateside customers.

Don Thompson, McDonald’s No.2 and chief of operations, has spoken to the Chicago Tribune about the his performance within the successful company and the recent hiccup with the gay advert, that features a father and his closeted gay son, which has caused eyebrows to raise in the US.

Thompson, 47, was in South Africa to launch the fast food giant’s sponsorship of the FIFA World Cup. Speaking to the Tribune on a phone interview, they touched on the topic of the advert, which went as follows:

Tribune: A French TV ad featuring a gay teen and his father has stirred some controversy — not there, but here.

Can you talk about that?

Thompson: It is an example that markets, cultures are very different around the world. (For instance), I've never shied away from the fact that I'm a Christian. I have my own personal beliefs and I don't impose those on anybody else. I've been in countries where the majority of the people in the country don't believe in a deity or they may be atheist. Or the majority of the country is Muslim. Or it may be the majority is much younger skewed. So when you look at all these differences, it's not that I'm to be the judge or the jury relative to right or wrong. Having said that, at McDonald's, there are core values we stand for and the world is getting much closer. So we have a lot of conversations. We're going to make some mistakes at times. (We talk) about things that may have an implication in one part of the world and may be the cultural norm in another part of the world. And those are things that, yes, we're going to learn from. But, you're right, that commercial won't show in the United States.

Tribune: How has it done in France?

Thompson: Interestingly enough, there have been no negatives coming out of France. The brand is a local brand and different things will occur in different parts of the world. We just have to make sure that we understand the impact one action may make on another part of the world.


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