You might have missed it but McDonalds have dropped their first vernacular advert. Sounds epic enough doesn’t it? Unfortunately though this Zulu advert with an insulting English voice over at the end, leaves you wondering; “what was the point?”
Just in case you missed it, the Zulu ad, with infrequent English subtitles, tells the story of a school boy who saves up his money by opting to make use of the ‘free but hot’ seat in the taxi every day; known as the “TV” because all the other passengers watch you when you sit on it.
As a result of the English voice over at the end of the ad I was completely unaware that this was in fact a vernacular ad. I had watched the ad three times without ever noticing that this was supposedly a game changing ad. The ad was so unimaginative that my brain switched off throughout the duration of the ad. It wasn’t until my friend told me that this was in fact a Zulu ad that I finally experienced my ‘aha’ moment.
So I watched the ad again, this time paying attention to all the details. Here are my observations: firstly, during the conversations between the boys there were occasions where there were just no subtitles! I’m not sure whether this was because this was a rush job or McDonalds just believes that not all Zulu dialogue is important enough to translate for their English language consumers either way it screams ineptitude. Secondly, with all the road deaths experienced on South African roads especially deaths as a result of public transport, advocating that a child sit in the ‘hot seat’ where he would most likely be flung out of the vehicle in the event of an accident just so he can buy a burger is highly reckless and thoughtless by the agency and McDonalds South Africa.
Though McDonalds are known for their conventional ads whose sole purpose in my opinion is to fulfil their contractual obligation to franchisee ‘the TV advert was done.’ This current ad takes the ordinary to a whole new level. The cheese burger the ad promotes might be worth saving money for but the ad was definitely not worth spending any money on. Pull the ad McDonalds