McDonald's Facebook campaign enrages Mexican tamale fans

"Tamales are from the past" Image copyright McDonalds

We have seen it before - if there is one thing people should think twice about, it is messing with popular food.

It happened to Jamie Oliver when he launched his version of the West African classic and it is happening now with McDonald's and Mexican tamales.

This week the fast food chain decided to launch a Facebook campaign urging Mexicans to leave their beloved tamales in the past and embrace McBurritos instead. Predictably, it backfired.

"How dare you insult a beautiful tradition. I'd rather eat tamales than your disgusting food," Damian Bracho commented.

The image of a McBurrito, a sort of scrambled egg in a tortilla wrap, accompanied by the slogan "Tamales are a thing from the past", was soon removed from the company's Facebook page.

About 650 tweets targeted McDonald's account in this vein: "Don't mess with tamales because #YaMeCanse [I am tired]," wrote one user. "Lack of sensitivity by McDonald's Mexico for a country's tradition, terrible marketing taste," another user, Javier Hidalgo, said. Others shared images of tamales and other food.

Image copyright Twitter / @FcoEVillaZapata
Image caption Tamale fan Villa Zapata Fco Emi shared this photo of the traditional dish
Image copyright Twitter / @DrCadenanes
Image caption Francisco Guerrero asked why one of the chain's hamburgers was small compared to the size of the bun.

Within hours, McDonald's got the message. It not only took down the offending image but it also published a statement apologising for the campaign. "McDonald's respects the traditions and beliefs of all countries where we have the opportunity to do business. That is why on our menus we include local dishes (…) we apologise to all of the people who felt offended by our post, which was removed from all of our social media sites." We've asked them for further comment - and we'll let you know if we hear back."

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