The Ad Standards board has ruled that an ad from a recent Grill’d campaign, created by The Monkeys, has broken the AANA’s code of conduct.
According to the board, the ad breached the AANA code of ethics.
In the ad, a clown – who is seemingly designed to look like Ronald McDonald – corners two children in an alley, and then opens his trench coats to reveal toys.
Specifically, the board said, “the majority of the Panel considered that the opening scene of the advertisement, where the children were cornered in the alley and the clown opens his trench coat, was menacing and suggestive of sexualised violence.”
“The Panel considered that even though the moment was resolved as being the clown showing the children toys in his coat, the suggestion of sexual violence at the start of the advertisement was extremely inappropriate in an advertisement for burgers.”
They also said that “most members of the community” would consider the suggestion of sexualised violence aimed at children is inappropriate, even if resolved”.
Ultimately, “the Panel considered that the scenes would shock and upset viewers and did not treat the issue of sexuality with sensitivity to the relevant audience.”
The ad was given a PG rating, meaning it could be shown at any time of the day.
A later scene in the ad, where the clown’s pants fall down but his crotch is covered by a Grill’d flag, “further adds to the inappropriate sexual nature of the advertisement.”
According to the board, Grill’d will modify the ad.
Some backlash to the ad, which is included in the report, contained comments like: “It’s just disgusting. Depicting any character in such a despicable way is disgusting! Where are the standard?”
Another said, “the advertisement is displayed during a normal documentary show Mysteries of the Missing which is educational and appeals to curious children”.
“Displaying an advertisement that makes fun of a Ronald McDonald type person in a trench coat creeping up to two children who are alone in an alley is extremely inappropriate for children to view and encourages them to minimise the danger of sexual assault and pedophilia by unknown adults.”
The incident – and Grill’d ads themselves – have also received some traction on Twitter.
These Grill'd ads are so unhinged
— Shari (@cats2019stan) October 28, 2021
I’m really not surprised that Grill’d is facing controversy over their commercial that implies Ronald McDonald is a pedo. That said the commercial is bizarrely well animated for something that turned out to be such a PR blunder!
— Paul (@Slainmonkey86) November 3, 2021
What the FUCK is that Grill’d ad???
— no.1 michael cera fan (@chickenpumps2) October 28, 2021
B&T has contacted The Monkeys for comment.
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