bad taste | 

Burger ad banned for poking fun at Madeleine McCann's disappearance

It was captioned: “With burgers this good, you'll leave your kids at home. What's the worst that could happen?"

Madeleine McCann.

Clodagh Meaney

An ad for a UK burger company has been banned for poking fun at Madeleine McCann's disappearance.

The advertisement for the Otley Burger Company, which ran over Mother's Day, showed a picture of the missing girl and her mother, Kate McCann.

It was captioned: “With burgers this good, you'll leave your kids at home. What's the worst that could happen?"

In the background of the image, a man was shown running with a smaller picture of Madeleine in his hands.

The words “Happy Mother's Day to all the mums out there,” were emblazoned along the bottom.

The Advertising Standards Agency (ASA) received three complaints about the ad which appeared on Facebook and Instagram. The complainants said that the ad was “likely to cause distress and serious or widespread offence.

In their considerations of the advertisement, the ASA stated that the disappearance of Madeleine McCann had been a high-profile and long-running media story which remained widely known.

“We considered the images of them would be instantly recognisable to many people.”

“We further considered that any reference to a missing child was likely to be distressing, and that in the context of an ad promoting a burger company, the distress caused was unjustified,” they continued.

Madeleine McCann (PA)

The ASA said that the smaller image of the man seen to be running away holding Madeline “further trivialised the circumstances surrounding Madeleine’s disappearance and made light of a distressing news story concerning reports of child abduction and serious crime.”

The advertising agency also said that they believed that it was likely to have “compounded the distress of those who saw the ads, and particularly for those who may have experienced the disappearance of a child.”

After considering the nature of the content, the ASA upheld the complaints and asked the social media platforms to remove the content and suspend the company’s accounts as they investigated.

“The Otley Burger Company said that they would not use photos of Kate McCann in that manner again or superimpose images of Madeleine McCann being kidnapped,” the ASA response to the ad reads.

“They said that all ads had been removed and would not be appearing again. They also said the image was a meme and there was no product placement, so it was not advertising.”

Madeleine McCann was just three years old when she vanished from her family's holiday apartment in Praia De Luz on May 3rd 2007 and has not been seen since.

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