From the One Billion Users blog:
The caption from this authentic unretouched Chinese promotional postcard for McDonalds says something about how “Beef makes you strong.” For an American (or at least me) looking at this, I see Yao Ming in a demonic horned salute (or a Longhorn fan) to Satan having already sold his soul to the dark one for fame and victory. The background shadow of a looming horned figure seems to confirm that the possession of his soul has already taken place.
Do I believe some conspiracy of evil has sent a message to 1.4 billion people leading them to the dark side of the soul? I doubt it. Regardless of how you feel about multinational conglomerates, this represents to me an example of weak due dilligence and research on the part of the local agency that did this ad for McDonalds. Regardless of the market and target consumer, all ads have become global thanks to the pervasiveness of the Internet. A simple focus group with foreigners probably would have uncovered the unintentional satanic overtones of this ad. Maybe I’m too critical but companies and multimillionaire athletes need to protect their brand.
We wonder what most Chinese think when they first see this hand gesture — surely not the intended hook ’em horns, right? Maybe they just think Yao likes heavy metal (or the devil) or maybe they mistakenly think he’s a hippie at heart or perhaps some assume, as we do, that Yao is a Buddha capable of expelling demons.