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But because it’s Canada, they’ve already apologized

Tim Nelson
January 17, 2018

Though it’s been many millions of years since dinosaurs walked the earth, they’ve still captivated the attention of countless people at museums all over the world. And though your average Canadian isn’t quite as fearsome as a T-rex, McDonald’s found out the hard way that the patrons and employees of the great white north’s cultural institutions are not to be trifled with. 

The controversy was set off by a 15-second radio spot run by the fast food giant to promote it’s $5 McPick meal. The ad framed the choice of a chicken sandwich, medium fries, and a drink as a pleasant and more worthwhile investment than a $5 museum tour, as a docent explains "There were dinosaurs and then there weren't," before adding "OK, then, exit through the gift shop!" 

What at first seemed like a light jab soon rankled those in the museum world. Among them was Tracy Calogheros, CEO of Exploration Place in Prince George, British Columbia. In speaking with the CBC, she seemed particularly upset by the message sent by McDonald’s Canada: “It targets the exact demographic that we're trying to reach, young families with kids... to tell people that you're better off going to McDonald's than you are going to an educational institution for an informal learning session."

According to Ben Fast, Programs and Member Services Coordinator for the British Columbia Museums Association, it didn’t take long for a number of mild-mannered Canadian museum goers to voice their displeasure. “I would estimate that we received email responses from 20 members, and saw approximately 50 people or organizations connect us to their social media posts [about the ad]," he told Munchies. “the community's reaction showed how people took the ad and how important cultural organizations are to local communities."

Thankfully, this being Canada, McDonald’s took swift action to pull the ads and offer an apology, even reaching out to Calogheros directly to say sorry. McDonald’s spokesmen Adam Grachnik also shared a statement with the CBC, saying the ad “was meant as a humorous way of promoting the new $5 McPick Meal Deal, and in no way meant to offend. We appreciate that museums are trusted, respected and informative places about Canadian culture and apologize for any offense." 

To paraphrase Jeff Goldblum’s Dr. Ian Malcom in Jurassic Park, it would ultimately seem that McDonald’s was so preoccupied with whether or not they could make fun of dinosaur museums that they didn’t stop to think if they should. For now, at least, Canada’s dinosaur museums are safe from the scourge of bad radio ads and unhealthy fast food. 

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