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McDonald's McFails with accidentally smutty cups

(Image credit: McDonald's)

McDonald's Japan has released a set of cups to promote its new range of soft drinks, McFizz. The cups are supposed to elicit a theme of summertime romance, showing naive line illustrations of a boy and girl on opposite sides of the cup, who share an innocent moment when the empty cup is lined up in a certain way. 

However, fast food fans have discovered that when you turn the cups a different way, you are faced with a range of decidedly less innocent scenes. We're not sure if this was an intentional design quirk, created in an attempt to stir up publicity and enter inspirational lists of packaging design (opens in new tab), or whether it's a case of something looking amazing on screen, but not being user-tested quite thoroughly enough. (See our best travel mugs (opens in new tab) if you want a reusable coffee cup with a less suggestive image.)

Here's what McDonald's was hoping customers would see in the cup (or see video above). 

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#macdonalds🍟 #mcfizz ゐなや (opens in new tab)

A photo posted by @inaya_jp on Jul 17, 2019 at 11:46pm PDT

And here's what people actually saw...

McDonald's cup

This summertime romance doesn't seem quite so innocent when you look at it this way (as @Mao_Kila (opens in new tab) pointed out)  (Image credit: @mao_kila on Twitter)

The wink on the right-hand image really makes it. And don't worry, this isn't a one-sided love affair, either.

mcdonald's cup

They're lovin' it (Captured by @_chocolation_ (opens in new tab)) (Image credit: @_chocolation_ on Twitter)

With another subtle manipulation, the illustrations take on some interesting proportions, where either the boy or girl becomes huge next to their partner. Surely McDonald's didn't really want to promote a huge age gap, or worse, paedophilia?

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Despite several people pointing out these not-so-innocent variations on the McFizz love story, McDonald's has refused to pull the cups, which are apparently now in serious demand. 

The fast food chain is known for its strong ads and design. Most recently, there were minimalist posters in France (opens in new tab), which used fries to guide motorists, and even a mini-McDonald's for bees in Sweden (opens in new tab). Has McDonald's in Japan been neglected? Or is someone somewhere having a good ol' giggle at what they've unleashed into the world? 

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Rosie Hilder is Creative Bloq's Acting Editor. After beginning her career in journalism in Argentina – where her blogging prowess led her to become Deputy Editor of Time Out Buenos Aires – she moved back to the UK and joined Future Plc in 2016. Since then, she's worked as Operations Editor on art and design magazines, including Computer Arts, 3D World and Paint & Draw, and got the 'Apple bug' when working on US title, Mac|Life. In 2018, she left the world of print behind and moved to Creative Bloq, where she now takes care of the daily management of the site, including growing the site's reach through trying to please the Google Gods, getting involved in events, such as judging the Brand Impact Awards, and helping make sure our content serves ours readers as best it can. Her interests lie in branding and illustration, tech and sexism, and plenty more in-between.