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You can’t say that about cheeseburgers!

Local TV stations are not lovin’ an anti-McDonald’s ad.

The advertisement from Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine, titled “Consequences,” displays a doctor and a weeping woman standing over a corpse clutching a cheeseburger in its right hand.

The 30-second spot ends with a picture of the McDonald’s logo, the words “I was lovin’ it,” a parody of the company’s “I’m lovin’ it” slogan, and the voiceover, “High cholesterol, high blood pressure, heart attacks. Tonight, make it vegetarian.”


Susan Levin, director of nutrition of education for the Washington, D.C., nonprofit, said all four of Houston’s major network affiliates turned down “Consequences,” which she said has aired in Chicago and Washington and was rejected by stations in Miami. The group was prepared to pay $5,000 to air the ad locally.

Houston was selected for the campaign, the group said, because of its market size, its reputation as having one of the nation’s highest obesity rates and because it has 149 McDonald’s outlets, more than any city in the nation other than New York.

Houston was the only Texas city in which the group attempted to place the advertisement.

“We don’t know why it wasn’t allowed to be aired,” Levin said. “If it’s because they are afraid of their own financial interests that might be tied to McDonald’s, we couldn’t have predicted that. There is nothing about the content of the ad that is outlandish.”

Here’s the ad in question:

The group’s YouTube channel is here, but I had to find a copy of that video elsewhere to embed it. Personally, I think it’s a little over the top, but no more or less “appropriate” than any other ad, so I don’t see why it was denied. Of course, I find ads for diamonds to be offensive, so maybe I’m not the best measuring stick. Be that as it may, as is so often the case they’re likely to get a lot more publicity from being turned down than they’d have ever gotten from running the ad, so I suppose in the end everyone got what they wanted. What do you think?

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  1. Peter Wang says:

    Obesity is a complex, multi-factorial syndrome. Therefore, it is entirely inappropriate to single out one industry or vendor. This is quite different from smoking-related illnesses, which are entirely caused by smoking, also tobacco is not food.

    As you know from my background, I fault our motorized transportation system more than our food system for causing obesity. I received confirmation of this view recently. I was in Eastern Europe two weeks ago, and every meal I sat down to large meals of dumplings, potatoes, sausages, pate, eggs, fried meat cutlets, everything slathered in mayo & butter. The only visible veg was sauerkraut and beets! Nothing green. And, there was much less obesity than here, everyone walks and uses public transit after eating their schnitzel and sausage. Yes, and they have McDonald’s there, too.

  2. Mike says:

    I find the attack on McDonald’s a little over the top and inappropriate as well. McDonald’s has healthy food too – and the grilled chicken salads with a low-fat / fat-free dressing are actually pretty tasty. If you are going after fast food places, let’s go after places that don’t have healthy options on the menu at all. James Coney? Sonic? I’m looking at you.