Belfast Telegraph

McDonald's apologises for 'Bloody Sundae'

An image of the offending advertisement at a McDonald’s in Portugal
An image of the offending advertisement at a McDonald’s in Portugal

By Eimear McGovern

McDonald's in Portugal has apologised for an advertising campaign which featured a wordplay on the Bloody Sunday killings.

The campaign by the fast-food giant advertised a new Halloween-themed dessert called 'Sundae Bloody Sundae'.

It appears to be a reference to the U2 hit, the lyrics of which describe the horror felt by an observer of the Troubles in Northern Ireland, mainly focusing on the 1972 Bloody Sunday shootings in Londonderry.

The promotional material has since been removed from restaurants.

A spokesperson for McDonald's said: "When promoting its Halloween Sundae ice cream, McDonald's Portugal developed a local market activation for a small number of its restaurants in Portugal.

"The campaign was intended as a celebration of Halloween, not as an insensitive reference to any historical event or to upset or insult anyone in any way.

"We sincerely apologise for any offense or distress this may have caused. All promotional material has been removed from restaurants."

Thirteen people were killed and 15 were wounded after members of the Army's Parachute Regiment opened fire on civil rights demonstrators in the Bogside on Sunday, January 30, 1972.

A former member of the Parachute Regiment, known only as Soldier F, has been charged with the murder of two men and attempted murder of four others.

Social media users condemned the advertising campaign after a photo was circulated on Twitter. One said the advertisement was "totally unacceptable", while another advised the chain to give some history lessons to their marketing department.

It is not the first time a company has inadvertently waded into controversy around Irish history.

In 2006, Ben & Jerry's apologised to Irish consumers after it launched Black and Tan ice-cream. The US firm said the flavour was inspired by the classic mixture of stout and pale ale.

There was also an earlier Bloody Sunday in Dublin in 1920, when members of the Black and Tans opened fire on crowds gathered to watch a GAA game at Croke Park killing 14 people.

In 2012, Nike apologised for nicknaming a pair of skate shoes 'The Black and Tan', saying it had been "unofficially named by some using a phrase that can be viewed as inappropriate and insensitive".

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