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McDonald's criticized for ad involving a boy, his dead father and a Filet-O-Fish

McDonald's U.K. has apologized after being criticized for a new commercial involving a boy grieving the loss of his father and eating a Filet-O-Fish.
/ Source: TODAY

In a new McDonald's commercial, a young British boy mourning the loss of his father yearns to find some kind of connection, but soon realizes he doesn't have his dad's way with the ladies, athletic ability or even the same eye color.

But hey, he can always take solace in the fact they both liked to order a Filet-O-Fish at McDonald's.

That's the gist of the McDonald's U.K. ad that has the company apologizing in response to criticisms of insensitivity for what it hoped would be a heartwarming commercial.

The ad created by London-based firm Leo Burnett was released on Friday and has received a backlash from U.K.-based child bereavement groups, according to the BBC. It is slated to run for the next seven weeks but could potentially be curtailed.

"This was by no means an intention of ours,'' a McDonald's U.K. spokesperson told the BBC. "We wanted to highlight the role McDonald's has played in our customers' everyday lives - both in good and difficult times."

The commercial has drawn criticism from those who saw it as cynically exploiting a child who lost a parent to sell fast food.

The McDonald's ad is the latest branding misstep by a well-known company.

Following a huge online outpouring last month, Pepsi pulled a controversial commercial starring Kendall Jenner turning a street protest into a celebration by handing a police officer a can of Pepsi.

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Last week, Dove U.K. faced a backlash when it announced a limited edition range of body washes shaped like different women's body types, from tall and slender to short and squat.

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Follow writer Scott Stump on Twitter.