The man appearing to be dressed up as Prince. (Picture: McDonald's)
  • A consumer was agitated by McDonald's TV ad that includes a reference to the legendary Prince.
  • Prince was an outspoken vegan.
  • The ads authority rubbished McDonald's claim that it wasn't referencing Prince, but okayed the ad nonetheless.

McDonald's South Africa can continue to use a burger advertisement that portrays the legendary singer Prince, the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) has ruled.

The shows two characters battling it out about how they "Big Mac", leading up to the tagline "how do you Big Mac?


The woman starts the duel with her assertion that "I 'Big Mac' pretty”.

The woman states that she is "Big Mac pretty” in the McDonald's ad.


Her opponent tries to outbid her with: "Girl, please, I ‘Big Mac’ like Prince”.

The man, who appears to be dressed up as Prince states that "Girl, please, I ‘Big Mac’ like Prince”.


A complainant said the advertisement was offensive because it misrepresented Prince's legacy. He was an outspoken vegan and even composed a vegan-inspired song, 'Animal Kingdom', which he donated to People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA).

McDonalds said the ad did not reference Prince at all – but the ASA disagreed.

The man is clearly dressed up to look like Prince, carries a guitar, and states "I ‘Big Mac’ like Prince.” The Directorate is of the opinion that even a viewer who has the most superficial knowledge of Prince and his music will recognise the reference.
Directorate, Advertising Standards Authority of South Africa

But the ASA okayed the ad because of its exaggerated and over-the-top nature. Consumers would not see it is a literal endorsement by Prince, the ASA said.

It helps that the Prince character is not shown eating a burger.

"The emphasis is on how cool Prince is, and not on eating meat," the ASA said.

This is McDonald's Prince-referencing ad, as aired on TV.

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