Burger joint's 'anorexia' ad draws criticism

An Ottawa businessman's attempt to market his burgers — using the tagline "Help us fight anorexia" — has left some people with a bad taste.

An Ottawa businessman's attempt to market his burgers — using the tagline "Help us fight anorexia" — has left some people with a bad taste.

Genevieve Hayden, a psychology student who has written papers on eating disorders, said she was annoyed when she saw the sign at a downtown food court.

The owner of Manhattan Burgers said the ad campaign was meant to be funny and not taken seriously. (CBC)

"That's not the kind advertising that anorexia and mental health illnesses need to get," said Hayden. "They need to get positive advertising about how it is a real issue and not 'eat this burger and you'll be okay.'"

Manhattan Burgers owner Fauzy Kaddoura said he did not mean any harm with the ad, which he said some people found funny.

"That's where I think the disease starts out, doesn't it? Most people worry about their figure. They think they're too big and they stop eating," said Kaddoura. "And I was just thinking this is sort of the opposite."

One passerby who gave her name as Rose said she is not offended, even though she said she used to have an eating disorder.

"[It is] to encourage people to eat. That's my view of the sign. Nothing other than that," she said.

Kaddoura admits his efforts to differentiate his local burgers with catchy names missed the mark on this one and said he would change the sign.

"I'll change the sign, but no matter what I write someone's going to take offence to something," he said.

Kaddoura then pulled out his laptop and began work on a new ad, typing: "Help us fight the diet craze."