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McDonald's Canada apologizes, pulls ad offending museum supporters

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McDonald's Canada apologizes, pulls ad offending museum supporters

McDonald's Canada apologizes, pulls ad offending museum supporters

McDonald's has apologized and pulled a radio ad that upset supporters of Canadian museums.

The 15-second piece compared the value of spending $5 at McDonald's to spending $5 on a museum tour.

"You could get a museum tour for $5," the male narrator says. A woman playing the role of a museum guide then cuts in. 

"There were dinosaurs and then there weren't," she says. "OK, then, exit through the gift shop!"

The narrator then returns to inform listeners that, alternatively, they could spend their $5 (plus tax) on a value meal with a sandwich, fries and drink, "at participating restaurants."

Ad was 'insidious': museum director

The piece drew the ire of museum supporters, including Exploration Place CEO Tracy Calogheros in Prince George, B.C.

"I get that it's probably intended to be funny, but it's insidious," she told CBC Radio West host Sarah Penton.

"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."

Listen to a full interview with Calogheros and hear the ad

The advertisement, which was running in markets across Canada, upset other museums and their supporters, prompting calls for the piece to be pulled. 

Ad 'in no way meant to offend': McDonald's

In an email, external communications manager for McDonald's Canada Adam Grachnik told CBC the company was doing just that.

"It was meant as a humorous way of promoting the new $5 McPick Meal Deal, and in no way meant to offend," Grachnik wrote. 

"We appreciate that museums are trusted, respected and informative places about Canadian culture and apologize for any offence." 

Calogheros said she received a call from McDonald's Canada telling her the same thing, and she had accepted the apology.

"I think it was very sincere," she said. "I never thought McDonald's went out with the ad campaign trying to offend museums... I just think they missed the mark."

She also said she had been up until midnight responding to texts and emails from other people upset by the ad.

"The best part about all of this was learning just how much the Exploration Place's visitors love us," she said.

Read more reaction to the advertisement on Twitter.