It’s probably not a good idea to use tragedies to sell ice cream.
McDonald’s in Portugal has apologized for an advertising campaign that used the tagline “Sundae Bloody Sundae” to celebrate Halloween.
The advertisement showed off the fast-food chain’s ice cream sundae with strawberry sauce, offering a two-for-one deal. Across the top of the image, the phrase “Sundae Bloody Sundae” was written in large letters.
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The campaign was pulled after it received a negative reaction, The Guardian reports.
While there are several dates referred to as “Bloody Sunday,” the most well-known is a 1972 incident in Northern Ireland when British troops fired upon unarmed civilians during a protest march against the internment of suspected members of the Irish Republican Army (IRA). The shooting, which left 14 people dead, was the inspiration for the U2 song “Sunday Bloody Sunday.”
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It’s not clear if the campaign was attempting to reference the U2 song or if the phrasing was just a coincidence.
In a statement obtained by The Guardian, a spokesperson for McDonald’s Portugal 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 statement continued, “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 apologize for any offense or distress this may have caused.”
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All related material to the campaign has reportedly been removed from the fast-food chain’s locations.
Meanwhile, a McDonald’s in Massachusetts caught backlash for graphic Halloween decorations that many called “insensitive.”
The North Andover location removed the display, which appeared to show a man hanging from a tree. A Twitter user described the scene as “more like a lynching” than Halloween décor.