Ronald McDonald is in the news this morning. A group — the same one who got Joe Camel removed from cigarette ads — blames him for marketing junk food to kids. According to the article, the government is getting stricter about how food is marketed to children.
I read the article with great perplexity. Who likes clowns? Don’t clowns even scare little kids, their target audience? I hated Ronald McDonald as kid. In fact, I think one of the reasons why I liked Wendy’s so much more (besides their Frosty’s, obv) is because they had a cute little girl as their logo, not some creepy perverted clown. Clowns are a distant third on my list of terrors, preceded only by sharks and spiders.
According to the article I linked to, “creepy” is how most subjects of a study by Ace Metrix (a company that measures advertising effectiveness) viewed poor old Ronald McDonald. So it seems like phasing him out would be a smart business decision by McDonald’s for that reason alone. Maybe they could get a spider riding on top of a shark to replace him.
So far, McDonald’s is insisting that more people like Ronald than are horrified by him, so they’re keeping him around. Hey, I support that. These people are trying to run a business and they should be able to do it their way. We should be happy they’re able to do it without crashing our economy or requiring infusions of tax payer money.
Frankly, I think the animosity aimed at Dear Old Ronald is misguided. Ronald never took me for a happy meal. Ronald never bought me large fries after a late night out dancing in college. Ew, as if. People go to McDonald’s because the food is cheap, tasty and convenient, not because of the clown. The clown is part of the branding, but it’s not the cause of the obesity in America. Obesity is a real problem and I don’t think we’re going to solve it when we’re focusing on non-issues like whether a fast food restaurant has a clown as its mascot.