No Pink Slip for Ronald McDonald

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10 Responses to No Pink Slip for Ronald McDonald

  1. Rebecca Hasler says:

    Ronald McDonald and McDonald’s were synonymous in my mind,when I was an 11 year old kid eating happy meals. As McDonald’s has shifted to a more modern, “healthy”, almost coffee shop image, there seems to be less of a place for the curly red hair clown. I would assert that Ronald is outdated. If McDonalds is going to continue in the direction they are heading, I think they should update the clown or ditch him all together. I was curious to find out what younger kids thought of Ronald so I asked my 10 year old brother and his opinion on Rondald is that he is “creepy”. I understand why McDonald’s has not rid of the clown. He has been the face of the franchise for five decades, but it might be time to move on.

    McDonald’s has completely modernized their image, I find it hard to see a place for him, especially in London’s Olympic village. Link:

  2. I have always associated the clown Ronald McDonald with McDonald’s. It seems today that Ronald McDonald is never used in McDonald’s advertisements anymore. Ronald McDonald used to target children and associate fun toys with Happy Meals. Today, McDonald’s has changed their target audience to a more adult audience as they have started to sell healthier meals and coffee. When I was younger all the McDonald’s commercials were about the play site at the restaurant and the toys that came with the kid’s meals. Now the commercials do not appeal to children at all.

    These are both McDonald’s commercials. One from the 90’s targeting children and one from this year targeting adults.

  3. I find the “evolution of mascots” to be really interesting in terms of re-branding. I certainly agree that McDonald’s has drastically tried to step up their sleekness, appearance, and credibility by altering some of their advertising strategies. I also agreed with the statement that mascots are slightly outdated now. I didn’t really think about it until now, but I haven’t even thought of Ronald McDondald in a very long time. His image is synonymous with McDonald’s, so I feel like the brand might lose some identity if they were to get rid of him! But with that being said, I wouldn’t necessarily miss him. Thinking about mascots, I can’t help but think of all the other “food mascots” especially when it comes to cereal! I instantly thought of Tony the Tiger, and how more recently, he seems to have slimmed down a bit! I found an article about the evolution of cereal mascots through out the years and thought it was pretty relevant to the transition McDonald’s is facing today!

  4. Bryttnee L says:

    I found this article to be really interesting, mascots are a very important part of branding or rebranding in some cases. I haven’t thought about the lack of Ronald Mcdonald being used in the past years compared to how apparent he appeared in commercials when I was a young child. I think the company is trying to reposition itself without the use of the clown, along with many other companies. The use of mascots in my opinion can be very effective in some cases, where the mascots is basically used as the sole identifier of what a company is all about. Red Robin is another company that has a mascot, Red, the robin. As years have progressed, the Bird has been spotted less compared to prior years. this has a lot to do with the Red Robin company rebranding itself to appeal to more adults rather than children. I think this would be a hard transition considering Red Robin is known for being a kid friendly restaurant with many child food options, and of course Red, the robin who walks around the restaurant on certain days. In this day and age, I do think mascots are a hit or a miss. I personally haven’t seen Ronald Mcdonald featured in any commercials for McDonalds in years, but that isn’t to say I just haven’t been paying attention.

  5. Jessica Katz says:

    I am the very last person to defend McDonalds but in this particular case I side with McDonalds all the way. Ronald McDonald is as symbolic as the golden arches. Taking the clown away is like taking the ‘M’ out of McDonalds. Personally I like company mascots, it’s more than recognizing just a company name. Despite social media changes and re-branding, traditional elements like a mascot shouldn’t be altered. The 11 year old girl is quoted in the article saying he’s always happy and it’s unrealistic to always be happy then she goes on to say things about earthquakes and financial problems. What is happening to kids these days?! Eternal happiness should still be a possibility for an 11 year old and someone that young shouldn’t know so much about the financial market and natural disasters! Kids grow up way to fast these days so keeping a mascot like Ronald McDonald gives us a shred of a hope to preserve the youth.

  6. Quinn Flaherty says:

    I always enjoyed Ronald McDonald as a child, and continue to have no problem with him today. I think it is silly for people to try and eliminate Ronald because he is a mascot for “eating unhealthy” food. He’s just a harmless character who some kids enjoy relating to when they eat their Kids Meal. I think people try to put the blame of obesity on as many different outlets as they can. Ronald McDonald isn’t putting french fries in kids hands, their parents are. Ronald is just a symbolic clown who has been delivering the same message since he was invented. Also, just because Ronald isn’t appealing to some kids doesn’t mean every kid doesn’t like him now either. So who is to say that McDonald’s should get rid of him? On the other hand, if the consensus among kids is that Ronald is old and dumb now, I would consider eliminating him appropriate if McDonald’s had a new marketing strategy that thought might work better. At the end of the day, what Ronald does should be up to McDonald’s and not health-care professionals. He is only a clown after all. I believe the same time and money spent trying to take away Ronald could be spent on something much more effective in the struggle against obesity. And if Ronald went away, would McDonald’s marketing and advertising professionals not come up with a new campaign to attract children just as effectively anyway?

  7. rsedlak1 says:

    This is a really interesting article when you consider branding. I remember in the 1990s when McDonald’s tagline was “when you believe in magic” and it had a whole cast of characters to advertise to children, including Ronald McDonald and the Hamburgler. Then in the early 2000’s McDonald’s switched to a more hip-hop, urban-centric theme, with the “ba-da bap, da da, I’m lovin’ it” tagline. And, as Kelly posted the YouTube link above, nowadays McDonald’s has shifted again to a more hipster/urban/smart customer, like a weird version of the ideal Apple customer. It’s funny that McDonald’s is holding on so tightly to Ronald, since I can’t remember seeing him for years. I know he vaguely does something with charity, but even if McDonald’s says he represents “good” things, I think Ronald is outdated. I get the feeling that clowns in general aren’t super popular with kids–and the 11-year-old from the article makes a pretty convincing voice that kids these days aren’t interested in an always-happy mascot. And mascots are disappearing in advertising, at least in everything but life insurance. Considering how McDonald’s has tried to rebrand itself over the last two decades, I think it’s a little strange that it’s still holding onto and naming the merits of Ronald McDonald.

  8. Eleni Pappelis says:

    While reading this article, I found it interesting that one of the managers of a brand strategy firm argued that mascots are not relevant today like they have been in the past. She goes on to say how characters were mostly used for insurance commercials or advertising children’s cereals now. Ronald McDonald was obviously a successful mascot for this popular chain of fast-food, but it also made me think of other fast-food competitors such as Burger King and the use of their mascot. Burger King has completely eliminated their use of a mascot and has replaced this strategy with a campaign that “exciting things happen at Burger King.” This campaign uses current celebrities as a way to entice all audiences (not just children) as well as modernize the campaign itself. I found the argument claiming Ronald McDonald is outdated and irrelevant to be true. I do not think fast-food industries should be marketed so heavily to children.

    This Burger King commercial is part of their 2012 campaign and happens to be one of my favorite BK commercials…if David Beckham can’t make fast-food look appealing, no one can:

  9. Ryan Hagen says:

    While reading this article and seeing that many health-care professionals and consumer groups are saying that Ronald McDonald is a symbol of “eating unhealthy” seems unfair. To me it seems like the main reason why kids are eating unhealthy is because of the lack of guidance from parents mixed with the accessibility and affordability of fast food, not just McDonald’s. However, I believe that McDonald’s is doing the correct thing by keeping Ronald McDonald because even though he might not be as recognizable by today’s younger generations he is still recognized by older generations. This recognition by older generation can make them to feel a connection, good or bad, towards the McDonald Organization and at the same time still appeal to younger generations with their new look and style. Another reason why I believe keeping Ronald is the correct decision, even though they did no discuss it in the article, is because of the Ronald McDonald House Charities. While I was growing up I had a friend who had cancer and because of the Ronald McDonald House Charities his family was able to stay with him through his treatments without having to commute from home to the hospital. This is one of good things about Ronald McDonald in which I believe health-care professionals and organizations forget to recognize, but instead try to blame the Ronald McDonald character for child obesity rates rather than the people who are directly responsible for it.

    Link to Ronald McDonald House Charities website for more info:

  10. kellypetaja says:

    When I was growing up if someone said McDonalds, or Happy Meal the first thing that came to my mind was Ronald McDonald. After reading this article it makes me sad to see that even kids today are not impressed by this clown and see him as “creepy”, unrealistic or even outdated. Ronald McDonald was obviously a very successful mascot in the past, but these days he seems to be loosing his popularity in number of ways. The 11-year-old in this article makes a good point by stating that kids these days are interested in different things, which have little to do with an overly happy clown. Not only are the kids losing interest in Ronald, McDonalds seems to have changed it target audience by marketing themselves as a more sophisticated and healthy atmosphere for adults. In doing so, this leaves little to no room for our Ronald McDonald who is an oversized clown with bright red hair. I would love to see Ronald McDonald stick around because he is symbolic not only the company but also the millions of kids who grew up loving him. Yet, it seems that the only way this clown is going to be able stick around is with the help of a modernized makeover to match this new generation of kids, and McDonalds new marketing strategies.

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