Vernon museum bites back at fast food giant

Greater Vernon Museum’s social media rant on McDonald’s advertisement gets noticed

Gabriel Newman was offended by the ad. So were other staff members at the Greater Vernon Museum and Archives.

Newman, the museum’s education coordinator, heard an ad on a Vernon radio station from fast food giant McDonald’s, saying spending $5 on a McDonald’s lunch was much better than spending $5 at a museum.

Newman posted his disgust with the ad on social media.

“I just think it was off-base,” said Newman. “We’re a non-profit organization. Don’t pick on non-profits.”

The advertisement – which was pulled by McDonald’s Canada late Thursday morning – featured a narrator saying you can get a museum tour for $5, followed by a woman playing a role of a museum tour guide and saying, ‘there were dinosaurs and then there weren’t. OK, then, exit through the gift shop.’

The narrator returns to inform listeners they could spend their $5 on a kid’s meal with a hamburger, fries and drink at participating restaurants.

Newman was interviewed by CBC Radio Thursday morning.

“I’m not sure what museum they (McDonald’s) were talking or thinking about,” he said. “I don’t think they’ve been to a museum.

“It implies that a museum is expensive, or a luxury item. I’m worried somebody that’s never been to a museum will think it’s out of their reach, and $5 really isn’t a lot.”

Related: MICHAELS: Bad McAd leaves a bad taste in my mouth

Part of the problem for Newman and the Greater Vernon Museum and Archives is the timing of this.

The ad came out the same week the museum started charging an admission fee for the first-time ever.

“It used to be admission by donation but now it’s $5,” said Newman. “But that’s good for all day.”

Numerous museums across the province shared in his outage of the ad.

“A museum is a place to learn about culture, history, traditions, and so much more. Comparing something like a $5 value meal to the value of education and intellectual growth is quite disheartening; however, we are encouraged to see that McDonald’s reacted so quickly in pulling this ad and apologizing to all Canadian museums,” wrote the Kelowna Museums Society.

Greater Vernon Museum and Archives is also working toward building a new facility. It houses an extensive history of the city and surrounding areas.

Just heard a McDonald's advertisement on 105.7 Sun FM Vernon inferring spending $5 at a museum was a waste of money when…

Posted by Greater Vernon Museum & Archives on Tuesday, January 9, 2018

The Canadian Museums Association (CMA) learned of the offending ad Wednesday and immediately contacted McDonald’s requesting the ad be removed. CMA also requested that McDonald’s consider beneficial ways to work with the museum sector.

McDonald’s Canada has apologized to Canadian Museums.

In a statement sent to The Morning Star, McDonald’s wrote: “It was meant as a humorous way of promoting the new $5 McPick Meal Deal, and in no way meant to offend. We appreciate that museums are trusted, respected and informative places about Canadian culture and apologize for any offence.”

Ben here in the office just got off the phone with McDonald's Canada's Communications team and has confirmed the ad in…

Posted by BC Museums Association on Thursday, January 11, 2018

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