As I was watching my favorite morning news today, a story caught my attention – there’s an advocate group trying to ban Ronald McDonald from being used as a “mascot”. Ronald McDonald, that strange, semi-lovable androgynous mime/clown who personifies good ol’ Mickey D’s. What’s so bad about Ronald (aside from that creepy red afro)? According to the anti-Ronald coalition, Ronald is no better than a pusher-man of junk food, tricking poor innocent minds and leading them down the golden arched path to childhood obesity.
It couldn’t be the result of parents actually taking their kids to EAT fast food several times a week rather than making them home-cooked meals?
According to CNN Money, “The push to retire Ronald is being led by a group called Corporate Accountability International, which plans to introduce a resolution calling for the clown’s ouster at the company’s annual shareholder meeting.”
Ronald McDonald has been a major brand asset to McDonald’s for decades, acting as the company’s mascot since 1971. He has become synonymous with good times and good, greasy burgers. To get rid of Ronald would be a major blow for the Golden Arches, and I for one am vehemently opposed. Granted, he scares the s**t out of me with those floppy red shoes and little beady eyes, but there would be something missing if he wasn’t around. McDonald’s sans Ronnie just wouldn’t be the same brand experience, floppy shoes and all.
“McDonald’s (MCD, Fortune 500) also stressed that Ronald is the symbol of its flag-ship charity, Ronald McDonald house, which is dedicated to the health and well being of children. Ronald is an ambassador for good and delivers important messages to kids on safety, literacy and balanced, active lifestyles.”
As I polish off the last of my unbelievably tasty, Ronald endorsed, beef-infused, salt-lick fries, my point is this: McDonald’s shouldn’t have to get rid of their beloved mascot just because a group asks them to. Ronald is imbued with huge brand value for the company, and is part of a classic American brand experience that creates a powerful emotional connection to it’s 1 billion-plus customers.
Let the Clown Stay!