In recognition of LGBTQ+ Pride Month, McDonald’s Philippines released a sapphic commercial that immediately went viral online, garnering praise from the Filipino LGBTQ+ community.
The advertisement features a woman on a longboard who circles around a McDonald’s drive-thru three times to place separate orders. She interacts with the same female drive-thru operator each time, hinting at a flirtation between the two.
After ordering a cheeseburger, a medium fries and an iced coffee, the McDonald’s employee unexpectedly brings her an ice cream cone at the end of her shift.
“Ma’am, here’s your dessert,” she says.
“Just like your sundae cone, I might melt with your stare,” she adds as the skater stares at the employee lovingly.
The two women are then revealed to be romantically involved, laughing and holding hands as they leave the fast food restaurant.
The wholesome love story came as a sweet surprise for the Philippines’ LGBTQ+ community, who re-shared the ad across their own personal social media accounts.
“While watching, I couldn’t help but go, ‘This is bold, McDo. Very nice,’ because having something as BLATANT as a lesbian couple as the main lead of a Filipino ad is BIG,” a Twitter user said.
Miss Universe Philippines 2023 Michelle Dee, who recently came out as bisexual, also expressed her support by sharing the ad on Twitter along with a Pride flag emoji.
As Filipino netizens praised McDonald’s for the representation, Westerners dismissed the ad as the “bare minimum” and accused the fast food chain of “rainbow capitalism.”
However, the queer community immediately slammed the negative comments, noting how the country’s LGBTQ+ community is continuously fighting for the SOGIE Equality Bill to be approved by the Philippine government.
Although there are local jurisdictions with anti-discrimination laws that prohibit prejudice based on gender identity and sexual orientation, the country currently does not have national legislation to prevent economic discrimination against the LGBTQ+ community.
“Before anyone says anything about rainbow capitalism, I just want everyone to know that the PH bill proposal that protects the lgbt from discrimination has gone unapproved for 23 years,” a Twitter user said.
“The white people intruding on this and commenting on how this is ‘pandering’ not knowing how f*cking hostile the Philippines is to queer people, and especially not knowing anything about our current political climate should absolutely know their place when it comes to this,” one person wrote.
“To everyone screaming about how this is the bare minimum, take a second and research the LGBTQ+ issues and politics in the Philippines. This is a massive win and most likely a comforting ad for the members of the LGBTQ+ community that live there and throughout Asia,” another user commented.
Adi Hernandez, the corporate relations director of McDonald’s Philippines, noted the importance of gender inclusivity in the daily lives of people.
“Despite its rare representation locally, it was important that this love story is depicted as a regular, everyday occurrence at McDonald’s Philippines,” Hernandez said, according to ABS-CBN News.
Gender inclusivity is ingrained in our brand experience from our customers to our employees. No matter who you are, you are welcome and safe to come back here again and again – that’s what we wanted our audience to know.