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McDonald's apologises after tasteless logo change

In light of this week's controversy around Burger King, who tried to mark International Women's Day in a positive way, but ended up just annoying a lot of people and having to apologise, we take a look back at a mis-step from rival burger brand, McDonald's, in March 2020...

Brands are continuing to respond to the spread of coronavirus, with many using their platform to highlight the importance of social distancing. Last week, McDonald's shared a minimalist ad in which its two famous golden arches became separated – and the internet was not impressed.

The ad, created by agency DPZ&T, appeared across all of McDonald's Brazil's social media accounts to convey the idea that we are "separated for a moment so that we can always be together". However, after a fierce backlash, the altered logo and accompanying social media posts have already been deleted. It's safe to say this attempt won't be gracing our best logos list.

McDonald's

We're not lovin' it (Image credit: McDonald's)

While speculative creative efforts (such as Jure Tovrljan's iconic logos reimagined for the age of coronavirus) have gone down well online, it seems it isn't enough for corporations to make fun, creative tweaks if they aren't backed up by actual action.

 Twitter users were quick to blast McDonalds's seemingly opportunistic effort. "Shame on everyone turning this pandemic into an award brief" said @rafapcolombia (opens in new tab), while @VanLigon (opens in new tab) simply asked, "How about pay your workers a living wage?" Perhaps @LaurelLu (opens in new tab) puts it best:

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Not only has McDonald's Brazil removed all trace of the tasteless ad, but it has also apologised. A statement to the New York Post (opens in new tab), said: “As a brand that operates in nearly 120 countries, we share a collective responsibility to help our communities in times of need. We apologise for any misunderstanding of the intent to remind our customers and communities on the importance of social distancing during these uncertain times.”

We hope this will be a lesson to other brands considering a quick, tokenistic response to the current situation. While McDonald's has made some successfully bold creative moves in the past (such as these minimal, type-only ads), it's safe to say this was a supersize mistake.

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Daniel Piper
Daniel Piper

Daniel Piper is Creative Bloq’s Senior News Editor. As the brand’s Apple authority, he covers all things Mac, iPhone, iPad and the rest. He also reports on the worlds of design, branding and tech. Daniel joined Future in 2020 (an eventful year, to say the least) after working in copywriting and digital marketing with brands including ITV, NBC, Channel 4 and more. Outside of Future, Daniel is a global poetry slam champion and has performed at festivals including Latitude, Bestival and more. He is the author of Arbitrary and Unnecessary: The Selected Works of Daniel Piper (Selected by Daniel Piper).