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McDonald’s Apologizes After Insensitive ‘Sundae Bloody Sundae’ Ad Prompts Backlash


McDonald’s Portugal took some heat after promoting an off-color strawberry sundae drenched in red syrup, called “Sundae Bloody Sundae.”

The name of the dessert is a play on words to the U2 song “Sunday Bloody Sunday,” but Mickey-D’s should have delved deeper into their research.

What the fast-food chain failed to recognize was that the band’s song referenced Bloody Sunday—the 1972 massacre in the Bogside area of Derry, Northern Ireland, when 28 unarmed civilians at a civil rights demonstration were shot by British soldiers.

The insensitive menu item set people off.

After facing much fallout, McDonald’s pulled the campaign by taking down all promotional material from their restaurants and issued a statement of apology.

According to the Belfast Telegraph, a McDonald’s spokesperson said the Portugal-specific campaign:

“was intended as a celebration of Halloween, not as an insensitive reference to any historical event or to upset or insult anyone in any way.”

“We sincerely apologize for any offense or distress this may have caused. All promotional material has been removed.”

On January 30, 1972, demonstrators participated in a march protesting against Operation Demetrius—the internment of 342 people suspected of being involved with the Irish Republican Army (IRA), which was dedicated to Irish republicanism free from British rule.

Thirteen protestors were killed instantly and a fourteenth died several months later from injuries after the tragic event.

Uninformed people rolled their eyes. 

But this is a major historic detail McDonald’s missed. 

For those who still didn’t “get it,” the oversight was compared to naming a campaign after 9/11.


The first Bloody Sunday took place in November 1920 during the Irish War of Independence when members of the “Black and Tan” auxiliary division and Royal Irish Constabulary officers opened fire at a crowd gathered for a Gaelic football match in Croke Park as part of an operation led by the IRA.

U2’s 1983 album War—that introduced the world to “Sunday Bloody Sunday”—is available here.


Written by Koh Mochizuki

Koh Mochizuki is a New York-based actor and writer. Originally hailing from Los Angeles, he received his B.A. in English literature and is fluent in Japanese. Disney parks are his passion, and endless cups of coffee are a necessity. Instagram: kohster Twitter: @kohster1