B.C. museums feel 'belittled' by McDonald's ad

A new McDonald's advertisement suggests $5 is better spent on a meal than a trip the museum.

Campaign implies $5 is better spent on burger meal than museum tour

A new McDonald's advertisement airing on radio stations in B.C. has angered museum directors by implying that spending $5 at the fast-food chain is more valuable than a visit to a museum. (CBC/The Exploration place)

Update: McDonald's Canada apologized and pulled the radio ad one day after CBC aired the story.

A new McDonald's advertisement suggesting $5 is better spent on a meal than learning about dinosaurs has upset supporters of B.C.'s museums.

"You could get a museum tour for $5," the male narrator in the 15-second radio spot says. A woman playing the role of a museum guide then cuts in. 

It upset me so much I pulled over- Exploration Place CEO Tracy Calogheros

"There were dinosaurs and then there weren't," she says. "OK, then, exit through the gift shop!"

The narrator then returns to inform listeners that, alternatively, they could spend their $5 (plus tax) on a value meal with a sandwich, fries and drink, "at participating restaurants."

"It upset me so much I pulled over," said Tracy Calogheros, CEO of Prince George's Exploration Place Museum

"It implies that we're just in it to rip people off, basically, in our gift shops and that you're much better to spend your $5 on a new McDonald's burger promotion."

Bell Media-affiliated Sun FM in Vernon said they are reaching out to the people responsible for the McDonald's advertisement in order to pass along the concerns of museums.

Calogheros said she felt "belittled," since the Exploration Place has a dinosaur display.

She also thought the piece was a locally produced ad taking a direct swipe at them, but after reaching out to the radio station — a member of the Jim Pattison Broadcast Group — she was informed the commercial is running in markets across the country. 

A spokesperson for the station said they have reached out to McDonald's to discuss the piece.

Tracy Calogheros, CEO of The Exploration Place Museum in Prince George, is upset by a new McDonald's ad she feels 'belittles' museums. (Andrew Kurjata/CBC)

Ben Fast of the B.C. Museum Association said he's been contacted by multiple members of the Museum Association upset by the 15-second piece.

"They're disappointed that McDonald's would kind of take a shot at the cultural sector like that, and it's not exactly true that $5 [at a museum] isn't worth the same thing as a hamburger," he said.

He said the association is reviewing the responses they've received while deciding on next steps.

CBC has contacted McDonald's Canada's about the advertisement, but has not yet received a response.

Listen to a full interview with Calogheros and hear the ad

Exploration Place CEO Tracy Calogheros tells CBC's Sarah Penton why a new McDonald's ad felt like 'an attack ad directly aimed at my institution'. 7:18

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