Outrage over restaurant's 'distressing' Madeleine McCann joke

An advertisement for a burger company that joked about Madeleine McCann's disappearance has been banned.

The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) in the UK banned the ad for The Otley Burger Company after it received complaints about the "offensive" and "distressing" posters.

The ads which were posted on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook on March 27 — Mother's Day in the UK — read: "Burgers for dinner?" with an image of Madeleine McCann and her mother Kate below.

The Otley Burger Company advert was banned. Source: PA via AAP
The Otley Burger Company advert was banned. Source: PA via AAP

The text underneath read “With burgers this good, you’ll leave your kids at home. What’s the worst that could happen. Happy Mother’s Day to all the mums out there."

In the background, a man was shown running with a smaller image of Madeleine McCann in his hands.

ASA says ad 'trivialises' Madeleine McCann's disappearance

The ASA issued a statement over the controversial ads saying the disappearance of Madeleine McCann had been a high-profile and long-running media story that is "widely known".

"We considered the images of them would be instantly recognisable to many people," the statement continued.

"We further considered that any reference to a missing child was likely to be distressing, and that in the context of an ad promoting a burger company, the distress caused was unjustified."

Madeleine McCann has been missing since 2007.
Madeleine McCann went missing during a family holiday in Portugal in May 2007. Source: PA

The watchdog also said the language of the advertisements "further trivialised the circumstances surrounding Madeleine’s disappearance and made light of a distressing news story concerning reports of child abduction and serious crime."

"We noted that the ads were all posted on 27 March 2022 which was Mother’s Day.

"We considered that in combination with the images, the posting of the ads on that date was intended to further add to the shock factor and offensive nature of the ads.

"We also considered it was likely to have compounded the distress of those who saw the ads, and particularly for those who may have experienced the disappearance of a child."

Users on social media were disgusted by the posters, slamming the owners for the "disgusting" choice of ads.

"What a way to drum up business, the lowest ever I have seen," one woman wrote. "You should be ashamed of yourselves and your business".

"This is awful, anybody who thinks it funny needs to have a long hard look at themselves," agreed another.

"I've never seen anything so disgusting to attempt an advertisement."

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