Grill'd Under Fire For Ad Showing "Sexualised Violence" Of Children

They have been flooded with complaints

Article heading image for Grill'd Under Fire For Ad Showing "Sexualised Violence" Of Children

Ronald McDonald selling toys to frightened kids in an alleyway. Credit: Grill'd, YouTube

Burger chain Grill’d have landed itself in hot water with a questionable ad on TV and YouTube viewers are say is “despicable” and promoting sexual violence towards children. 

The ad titled "Grill'd VS Plastic Toys", depicts a cartoon version of Ronald McDonald approaching scared children in a dark alleyway. He flings his trenchcoat open causing the children to cling to each other in fear. 

The coat has old, broken and plastic toys inside resembling those found in McDonalds Happy Meals. The clown tries to sell the toys to the children before a giant cartoon Grill’d Burger mascot called a “burger man” comes in and fights the clown whilst a song plays about a “righteous burger guy.”

The clown is pinned to the wall as the kids wave off the Grill’d mascot, munching on burgers whilst he flies off on a rope from a helicopter. 

Many found it all too suggestive with numerous complaints raised with the regulatory body Australia’s Ad Standards, stating the ad was suggestive of sexual violence against children. 

"Righteous burger man" seen waving goodbye to the kids after saving the day. Credit: Grill'd YouTube. 

You can see the full ad here. 

Grill’d came to the defence of the ad, denying it breached any codes and stating that whilst it did depict some forms of violence, it did so in a mild animated form. 

“The cartoon nature of the violence is consistent with animated superhero programs and is justifiable in the context of the product being advertised in this fashion. We note that the superhero persona of the burger is consistent with the messaging of the advertisement, being a “righteous” figure who combats against perceived “evils” in the industry in this case, offering plastic toys to children as an enticement to purchase fast food products,” the Grill'd statement read. 

The Ad Standards panel found that the scenes would “shock and upset” some viewers and was not justifiable in the context of advertising a burger chain. 

The majority of the panel agreed that the part “where the children were cornered in the alley and the clown opens his trench coat, was menacing and suggestive of sexualised violence,” its findings read.

Grill’d has agreed to modify the ad to address the concerns. 

Join Tom Tilley with regular rotating co-hosts Jan Fran, Annika Smethurst and Jamila Rizvi  on The Briefing, Monday - Saturday, for the day's headlines and breaking news as well as hot topics and interviews.  Available on Listnr.

Triple M Newsroom

8 November 2021

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Triple M Newsroom

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