An ad which appeared on the Boston transport system last week shows a woman who is upset, with her hand over her eyes. The slogan reads, "You're Not Alone. Millions of people love the Big Mac."
There is a 1-800 number at the bottom which directs callers to a McDonald's customer helpline.
When people saw the ad, some took pictures of it and posted it to Twitter, where it soon went viral with people being angered over it's obvious resemblance to a mental health ad.
On blog Minding the Workplace, law professor David Yamada said, "The ad writers and executive in McDonald's high-priced marketing operation missed the boat badly on this one. I'm sorry, but the ad is just too close to the real thing to be funny."
But the poster was not the only one in the carriage which mimicked well-known ads for other services.
One resembled an adult education program, showing an elderly woman with a graduation cap and the phrase: "It's never too late for an Angus Bacon & Cheeseburger."
McDonald's is claiming that the ads were not part of their campaign and they did not approve of them being posted.
"A local print ad displayed on the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority (MBTA) was recently brought to our attention," they said in a statement.
"We can confirm this ad was not approved by McDonald's. And, as soon as we learned about it, we asked that it be taken down immediately."
"We have an approval process in place, with our marketing and advertising agencies, to ensure that all advertising content is consistent with our brand values. Regrettably, in this incident, our agency did not follow that process."
It appears that Arnold, McDonald's advertising agency, was the one that made the mistake.
"Arnold apologizes for its mistake to McDonald's and to anyone who was offended by the ad. McDonald's did not approve the ad, and it's release was our unintended error. We've addressed the issue and have improved our approval process to ensure this does not happen in the future," a statement read.