NEWS » McDonald advert causes storm before Expo

McDonald advert causes storm before Expo

Italy rose up against the McDonald’s advert suggesting that Italian children prefer a “Happy meal” to Pizza.

The provocative advert was released a short time before the beginning of  Expo of which McDonald’s is sponsor. Considering that Expo is focused on alimentation, and that this is the year in which The Italian commission for UNESCO has chosen to present “L'Arte dei Pizzaiuoli Napoletani" to be included in the world heritage list.  

The Five star movement is going to ask Expo to cancel McDonald’s as a sponsor and to obscure the advert on television.  

The Pizza maker association “the true Napolitan Pizza Association” which represents pizza makers in Italy, has threatened legal action against the big fast-food chain.

In the Advert broadcast on Italian TV we see an Italian family in a restaurant ready to order pizza. When the waiter asks the little boy what kind of pizza he wants he answers “a Happy meal” . 

McDonald’s has been accused of attacking Italian cultural traditions. As a smack to McDonalds, whose food has been defined in this context as being bad for children’s health, if the legal action, intended to be taken, will be successful, the money will be invested in courses to help educate children about food.

Italy’s relationship with McDonald’s has always been quite tense, as the country of Pizza has always feared the presence of the chain as a threat to the cultural identity, being traditional food such an important part of Italian life and the economy. 

As an answer to this insult to Italian food, pizza makers of Naples have  produced a video of their own, in which a father takes a little boy to a fast food and when asked what he wants he says in Neapolitan dialect “But Dad, what is this disgusting stuff? I want pizza”. 

He and other children are then shown enjoying slices of pizza “a portafoglio”, folded pizza similar to a sandwich sold in the streets of Naples.

Neapolitans have also set up a Facebook page called “HappyPizza” in which they show nutritional benefits of pizza.

Roberto Masi, Managing Director of McDonald's Italia, said that it was never their intention to attack pizza but the advert was based on a real survey in which 3 children out of 4 in the age group 4-10, to the question “where do you want to go to eat?” said, “to McDonald’s”, instead of a pizza restaurant.

Could it be that with “Happy meal” children receive also some small toys?  

Giulia Lombardo

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