McDonald's advert claims children prefer hamburgers rather than pizza
April 12th, 2015
“Italy’s pizza chefs have threatened legal action against McDonald’s after the fast-food giant released an advert suggesting Italian children prefer a Happy Meal to a margherita.
The True Neapolitan Pizza Association, which represents pizza makers
across Italy, accused McDonald’s of a “shameful attack” against Italy’s
cultural traditions, while and warned them to stop “trying to make money
at the expense of children’s health”.
A top Neapolitan pizza chef described the claim that Italian children preferred hamburgers as “blasphemy”.
McDonald’s said it had not meant to attack pizza, which it called an
“institution” in Italy, but insisted that “even the pizza chefs of
Naples have probably bought their children to us at least once”. The
multinational invited any children who had missed out on their
McDonald’s experience “to come see us”.
The 20-second video, uploaded onto YouTube, shows a waiter in a
pizzeria asking a small boy which pizza he would like. “A Happy Meal”,
the boy responds, before the camera switches to a new shot of the boy
with his family, this time sat happily in McDonald’s.
“Your little boy had no doubt,” says a voice at the end of the advert.
Massimo Di Porzio, vice president of The True Neapolitan Pizza
Association, which was founded in Naples in 1984, said: “We’ve had
enough of them making money at the expense of children’s health.
"Our legal team is looking at the possibility of legal action to put an
end to his shameful attack on a symbol of the Mediterranean diet.”
He added: “It is not the first time and it will not be the last time
that McDonald’s has tried to attack our cultural traditions but this
time we are intent on taking action, which if we win, will allow us to
invest in courses to help educate children about food.”
Pagnani, co-owner of Pizzeria Brandi, one of the most famous pizza
restaurants in Naples, said it was “blasphemy” to suggest children
preferred hamburgers. “Don’t ridicule pizza: it is quality food and the
best known in the world,” he said.
The advert on the website of
La Repubblica has attracted scores of complaints. Michele Contessa
wrote: “I continue to ask myself how they guarantee good quality meat at
McDonald’s and Italy have never had an easy relationship.
The world-famous Slow Food movement, founded by Carlo Petrini, from
Piedmont, was born after a 1986 demonstration on the intended site of a
McDonald’s at the Spanish Steps in Rome. The movement aims to defend
regional traditions, good food and gastronomic enjoyment.
2000, riot police were brought in to protect McDonald’s branches in 20
Italian cities as demonstrators flung raw meat at windows in protest at
the growth of multinational food companies.”