French McDonald’s Ad Focuses On A Gay Teenager

This is a new McDonald’s spot that has been running in France. It’s called “Come As You Are,” and it shows a teenage guy in a McDonald’s booth caressing his class photo while talking on the phone to a suitor. He hangs up as his dad returns to the table, and his dad begins to talk about how he was a ladies’ man when he was a teen. “Too bad your class is all boys,” he says. The teenager smiles a knowing smile. The words “Come As You Are” flash onscreen. It’s a sweet moment, though one that has you wishing the boy was ready to come out to his dad, and it seems pretty groundbreaking for McDonald’s to make it. But then again, were gay teenagers not welcome to enjoy a Big Mac before? Nathalie Legarlantezec, the brand director of McDonald’s France, explained the commercial, saying, “We wanted to take a look at how French society is today. We’re very comfortable with the topic of homosexuality. The point was not to show someone who is troubled, especially a teenager. We know it can be difficult for some people, but we wouldn’t have dared show someone who is struggling.” What she didn’t say: you do know about Ronald McDonald and the Hamburgler, right? Kidding. I’m all for any pop culture representation that shows gay and lesbian characters without stigmatization or shock value. But I’m curious about what you think—is this commercial progressive or just unnecessary?