“Girl, please,” says a man wearing a purple jacket and carrying a stylized guitar, “I Big Mac like a Prince.” Could this South African TV ad possibly be referencing any well-known musician? Not really, says McDonald’s…but an industry group begs to differ.
The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA), an independent trade group in South Africa, received a complaint from a viewer who pointed out that Prince was unambiguously vegetarian and would not have appreciated the TV ad character who cops the musician’s style while celebrating the consumption of beef patties. Fans online seem to agree.
“The man is clearly dressed up to look like Prince, carries a guitar, and states ‘I ‘Big Mac’ like Prince,'” observed the group. “The Directorate is of the opinion that even a viewer who has the most superficial knowledge of Prince and his music will recognise the reference.”
Still, the ASA ruled that it was acceptable for McDonald’s to make the reference, since reasonable viewers would not imply that the late Prince was actually endorsing Big Macs. What do you think?