DUBLIN, Ohio - Hamburger chain Wendy's International Inc. is getting complaints that its TV commercial showing floating customers who apparently inhaled helium sends the wrong message to children about inhalants.
The ad shows customers standing next to a pressurized tank talking in high-pitched voices and floating to the ceiling. "Filling up with just anything, that's wrong," says the ad, which began airing a few weeks ago.
Wendy's spokesman Bob Bertini said yesterday the company has taken a small number of calls and has no plans to pull the ad.
Bertini said the ad clearly depicts an absurd scene. "It's a situation that is not real because people don't float on the ceiling," he said.
Harvey Weiss, director of the National Inhalant Prevention Council, a Texas organization that works to discourage the practice of "huffing" inhalants to get high, said the ad can give kids "inappropriate ideas."
Inhaling helium is not as dangerous as other gases, but it can be hazardous if inhaled from a tank.
About 20 people contacted Weiss to complain about the ad, including a woman in Pennsylvania whose son died from inhalants and a safety prevention officer who works with police in Michigan.