Why McDonald’s has stopped using Ronald McDonald
With bad publicity against clowns and fast food, McDonald’s has quietly kept Ronald McDonald out of the spotlight for years now.
Ronald McDonald has not been around very recently. Although it was once the face of McDonald’s, the fast food icon has had little presence in recent years, which competitor Burger King is more than willing to exploit. Burger King India does an advertising campaign, called “#LonelyNoMore”, offering a free Whopper to people who submitted a photo of themselves posing with a statue of Ronald McDonald.
While Ronald was once one of the most recognizable corporate mascots in the world, he and his fellow McDonald’s mascots like Grimace and the Hamburglar have been missing in recent years. While Burger King has only bolstered its (also spooky) mascot in recent years, Ronald and his friends only live in faded memories of Happy meal today. Now, we take a closer look at what happened to Ronald McDonald and why he stopped being the face of the biggest fast food chain in the world?
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Although the specifics of his origin are somewhat disputed, Ronald McDonald was created to help McDonald’s sell burgers in the early 1960s. In the early 1970s, Ronald briefly starred in his own Charlton Comics series. , and he was joined by early versions of familiar characters like Mayor McCheese in television commercials in subsequent years. These McDonaldland characters were synonymous with McDonald’s in the 1980s and 1990s, even appearing in a few animated specials sold at McDonald’s establishments.
However, McDonaldland ended in 2003. With the introduction of the “I like this” McDonald’s advertising campaign began to target adults more than children. While Ronald McDonald continued well beyond that time, it marked the end of the McDonaldland characters, who have only made occasional appearances since.
While Ronald survived the McDonaldland purge, the fast food icon had luggage strapped to him. For example, he’s a clown, and people’s opinion of clowns hasn’t really improved over the years. As carnivals and circuses declined in popularity, clowns began to become more of a horror genre staple than anything else. Given the ubiquity of villains like the Joker or HEPennywise is and his resemblance to Ronald McDonald children might be more likely to be afraid of clowns like Ronald than to be delighted by them.
Ronald’s role as a character primarily intended to sell to children has also become increasingly problematic.
By the early 2010s, the link between fast food restaurants like McDonald’s and high obesity rates in the United States was widely publicized, and there was no way to plausibly deny that Ronald McDonald was not intended. to advertise to children.
Ronald quickly became the most controversial advertising mascot since Joe Camel. Originally created as the Camel Cigarettes mascot in 1974, this caricature of the company’s signature camel became a sensation when it made its US debut in 1988. Although it never had the intention in this way, Joe Camel pleased the children very much. Smoking is obviously unhealthy, and an ad campaign essentially built around a cartoon character in the front seems to draw many underage smokers specifically towards Camel cigarettes. They eventually abandoned the character in 1997 after facing lawsuits, pressure from public interest groups, and even attention from Congress.
Unlike the Joe Camel affair, Ronald McDonald has always been clearly aimed at children, and he was the face of the marketing of cheap foods that could contribute to serious health problems eventually.
Because of pressure from groups such as Corporate Accountability InternationalMcDonald’s took this as a good time to slowly take Ronald out of the limelight. However, the news of his actual retirement didn’t really make a difference. In 2016, McDonald’s officially retired Ronald after a series of “Scary clown sightings” appeared across the United States. As they went from harmless random sightings to seeing clowns carrying guns, it seemed like a really bad time to be a clown. While it is difficult to verify most sightings, public fear convinced McDonald’s that it was time to put Ronald on the sidelines for a while.
No mascot like this has ever truly died, so there’s always a chance Ronald McDonald could make a comeback of some sort in the future. Ronald’s most notable active role at the moment is to lend his name to the Ronald McDonald House charities which provide housing for families with children in treatment at nearby medical facilities.
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