Italian Pizza Association Threatens To Sue McDonalds Over Happy Meal Commercial

McDonald's has drawn the ire of on of Italy's pizza makers association for a recent commercial.

McDonald’s has drawn the ire of on of Italy’s pizza makers association for a recent commercial.

There appears to be a bit of a war brewing between Italian pizza makers and McDonald’s after the fast food company aired a commercial depicting a child overjoyed to receive a Happy Meal over pizza at a local pizzeria.

CNBC reports that the Associazione Verace Pizza Napoletana (AVPN) – also known as True Neapolitan Pizza Association – treatened to sue the Golden Arches, saying the commercial in question is an attack on the country’s cultural traditions.

AVPN says in a statement that the commercial, which shows a family waiting at a local pizzeria being transported to a McDonald’s after the child exclaims that he wants a Happy Meal, is a “dishonorable attack against one of the symbols of the Mediterranean Diet.”

The company further claims that the fast food chain’s commercial suggests children don’t like pizza, as well as indicates that McDonald’s promotes an unhealthy diet and unfairly targets children with advertisements.

“It is obvious that the American colossus is trying to discredit its main competitor, but speculating on children’s health is just too much,” AVPN Vice President Massimo Di Porzio said in the press statement.

A spokesperson for McDonald’s tells CNBC that they haven’t heard from AVPN personally. The commercial, which first aired on YouTube in February and on Italian TV in March, was taken off the air on Sunday as previously scheduled.

Industry analysts say that McDonald’s latest ad was a fairly significant change from its traditional European marketing strategy that targets family dining and locally sourced products.

“There could be a very real risk of a backlash here, as the local pizza trade association has come out with all guns blazing and a section of the Italian public seemingly don’t need much encouragement in terms of pushing back against McDonald’s,” Bryan Roberts, director of Kantar Retail EMEA’s Retail Insights, told CNBC.

Italian pizza makers threaten McDonald’s over ‘attack’ [CNBC]