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Madeleine McCann Burger Van Adverts Banned

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Madeleine McCann Burger Van Adverts Banned

Warning: contains distressing imagery.

A burger company's adverts that included a photo of Madeleine McCann have been banned.

The Otley Burger Company hit the headlines earlier this year when the owner used photos of the missing girl and her mum, Kate, for a Mother's Day promotion.

Joe Scholey shared the controversial post to his company's social accounts on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook on 27 March.

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The controversial advert was to released in time for Mothers' Day (Credit: @TheOtleyBurgerCompany)
The controversial advert was to released in time for Mothers' Day (Credit: @TheOtleyBurgerCompany)

It read: "With burgers this good, you’ll leave your kids at home. What’s the worst that could happen [sic] Happy Mother’s Day to all the mums out there."

Madeleine went missing from her family's apartment in 2007 while on holiday in Praia da Luz, Portugal, just days before her fourth birthday.

The Advertising Standards Agency (ASA) received three complaints regarding the adverts.

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It has now ruled that images of Maddie were likely to cause 'distress and serious or widespread offence'.

In a statement, the ASA said: "We considered that in combination with the images, the posting of the ads on that date [27 March] was intended to further add to the shock factor and offensive nature of the ads.

"We also considered it was likely to have compounded the distress of those who saw the ads, and particularly for those who may have experienced the disappearance of a child.

"For those reasons we concluded that the ads were likely to cause unjustified distress and serious and widespread offence.Ads (a), (b) and (c) breached the CAP Code rules 1.3 (Responsible advertising), 4.1 and 4.2 (Harm and offence)."

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Kate and Gerry McCann have spent 15 years searching for their daughter. Credit: Alamy
Kate and Gerry McCann have spent 15 years searching for their daughter. Credit: Alamy

The watchdog went on: "The ASA considered the nature of the content to be of such a concern that we asked the relevant social media platforms to remove the content and suspend the account pending our investigation.

"The Otley Burger Company said that they would not use photos of Kate McCann in that manner again or superimpose images of Madeleine McCann being kidnapped.

"They said that all ads had been removed and would not be appearing again. They also said the image was a meme and there was no product placement, so it was not advertising.

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"Meta stated that they had reviewed the content in the Instagram post and had removed it for violating their policies.

"They undertook a broader review of the Instagram account, removed further content and placed restrictions on the account.

Madeleine went missing from her family's apartment in 2007 while on holiday in Praia da Luz. Credit: Alamy
Madeleine went missing from her family's apartment in 2007 while on holiday in Praia da Luz. Credit: Alamy

"Twitter said the tweet had been deleted."

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The controversial 'joke' led to the firm's owner allegedly receiving death threats from people who took issue with it.

However, the 29-year-old said he stood by the advert.

Speaking back in March, he said: "I’m not taking the mick out of a missing toddler. I’m basically putting, ‘Happy Mother’s Day’ to all the mums. 

"She [Kate McCann] is a mum. Not the world’s greatest mum and not the world’s worst. She’s a mum, there’s one there."

Featured Image Credit: MEN/Facebook/Alamy

Topics: UK News, Madeleine McCann

Dominic Smithers
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