Fighting the McDonald’s Tuscan Burger Ad

Fri, 11/29/2013 - 06:00

Small Tuscan town against American fast food chain.

Roberto Rappuoli, mayor of San Quirico d’Orcia in Tuscany, has protested the use of an image by McDonald’s Italia to advertise its latest burger, the “Gran Chianina,” made of Chianina meat, a breed of cattle originating from Tuscany.

The image depicts the burger against the backdrop of a typical Tuscan countryside of hills and cypress trees.

Rappuoli wrote a letter to McDonald’s informing the company of a law mandating that any use of pictures or videos of the province for commercial purposes requires permission from local authorities. 

“The law isn't a ban,” Rappuoli explained. “But it puts in place guidelines to avoid images of our town, a UNESCO world heritage site famous all over the world, from being misused.”

The rule states that companies must obtain written permission from the local council and make clear on the photo or video where the images are from. Apparently, McDonald's neglected to do so.

“If McDonald's wants to link its products with an area of excellence such as our own, it is free to do so,” the mayor added. “However, it must respect the rules.”

Following the letter, representatives from McDonald's have contacted the San Quirico d'Orcia mayor and are expected to meet with him to discuss a solution.

A marketing director with McDonald's Italia has said the arrival of the burger represents the company's "firm commitment to the appreciation of Italian products."

Besides Chianina meat, the new burger is made with fried onion rings, nut sauce, lettuce and ewe's cheese, and all of its ingredients come from Italian farms, according to McDonald’s.