Unhappy meals: American doctors' TV ad features a corpse holding a hamburger and the line 'I was lovin' it'. McDonald's, which has thrived in the recession, isn't laughing. [scroll down to watch the ad]
It is an image to sap the flabbiest of appetites. An overweight, middle-aged man lies dead on a mortuary trolley, with a woman weeping over his body. The corpse's cold hand still clutches a half-eaten McDonald's hamburger.
A hard-hitting US television commercial bankrolled by a Washington-based medical group has infuriated McDonald's by taking an unusually direct shot at the world's biggest fast-food chain this week, using a scene filmed in a mortuary followed by a shot of the brand's golden arches logo and a strapline declaring: "I was lovin' it."
The line is a provocative twist on McDonald's long-standing advertising slogan, "I'm lovin' it" and a voiceover intones: "High cholesterol, high blood pressure, heart attacks. Tonight, make it vegetarian."
The commercial, bankrolled by the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine (PCRM), goes further than most non-profit advertising and has drawn an angry reaction from both the Chicago-based hamburger multinational and the broader restaurant industry.
The PCRM's director of nutrition education, Susan Levin, made no apologies for singling out the golden arches: "McDonald's is one of the biggest fast-food chains in the world. Its name and its golden arches are instantly recognisable. We feel we're making a point about all fast food when we talk about McDonald's."
McDonald's fast food is graphically linked to health problems in this ad from a doctors' group urging viewers: 'Tonight, make it vegetarian' :