TV ad blasting McDonald's rejected by Florida stations

MIAMI — South Florida television stations have refused to air a provocative anti-McDonald's commercial, according to the doctors' group that created it.

The ad depicts an overweight man lying in a morgue holding a half-eaten hamburger, with a woman crying over his body. The McDonald's golden arch logo appears over his pale feet with the words ``i was lovin' it.''

It was created by Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine (PCRM), a nonprofit doctors' group that promotes vegetarian diets and is based in Washington, D.C.

South Florida stations WFOR-CBS4, WPLG-ABC10, WTVJ-NBC6, WSFL-CW39 and WSVN-FOX7 did not return calls or declined to comment.

The organization said its ad was rejected by all South Florida stations. In West Palm Beach, station WPEC originally agreed to air it Thursday, twice during the Early Show and once during the noon news broadcast. But the station later rejected the ad, telling the physicians' group that it would only air if they took out any reference to McDonald's, according to PCRM spokeswoman Vaishali Honawar.

WPEC did not return calls for comment.

The commercial was aired twice in the Washington, D.C.-area: on Sept. 16 and during a local cable news broadcast on TBD, an affiliate of ABC-7, and on Sept. 23 during a new episode of The Daily Show on Comedy Central.

The commercial also has garnered more than a million views on YouTube, where it appears as the second-most viewed video this month in the Nonprofits & Activism category.

PCRM president Dr. Neal Barnard said the group targeted McDonald's over other fast-food chains because McDonald's doesn't have enough healthy menu items, such as a veggie-burger option.

"McDonalds could easily offer a veggie burger, why not? Burger King offers one, why can't they?'' Barnard said.

The use of McDonald's signature arches are a likely reason for rejection, according to trademark attorney Joel B. Rothman, a partner at the West Palm Beach firm of Arnstein & Lehr.

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