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Ronald McDonald no longer on the menu for McDonald's

Kevin McGuire's picture

McDonald's has announced they will put Ronald McDonald, the company mascot for 48 years, to rest for the time being as the restaurant chain continues to improve their business image and menu.

As the nation grows more aware of healthy eating habits one of the primary targets for refocusing the way they advertise to Americans, and specifically children, has been McDonald's. The national fast food chain has often been criticized for being an enabler of obesity in the United States as the obesity percentage of children has increased. Over the past year McDonald's has made a visible change in philosophy and menu when it comes to advertising their products.

“He kind of represents the old McDonald’s, with the high- fat content foods that are kind of falling out of favor,” said Bob Dorfman, executive creative director at Baker Street Advertising in San Francisco, in a Bloomberg report. “It’s clear that McDonald’s is advertising coffee, they’re not advertising burgers.”

This month McDonald's is focusing more on their new line of McCafe Shakes, a milkshake served with whipped cream and a cherry on top and served in a McCafe latte cup as opposed to the more traditional beverage cup used before to serve milkshakes to customers. The Shamrock Shake also returns to the menu for it's annual appearance on the menu to help raise money for Ronald McDonald House.

"We haven’t been seeing a lot of Ronald McDonald,” said Tim Calkins, a marketing professor at Northwestern University in Evanston, Illinois in a report by Bloomberg. “They’re beginning to appeal to much more sophisticated individuals.”

Will the removal of Ronald McDonald from the overall advertising campaign by McDonald's result in the cheeseburger-loving clown going off in to retirement? Not yet according to one consultant. “They haven’t given up on Ronald at all, they haven’t given up on kids,” said Malcolm Knapp, a New-York based restaurant consultant. “They just changed the marketing mix.”

Ronald McDonald has appeared in television commercials targeted toward children, potential Happy Meal consumers. Ronald hails from the imaginary land of McDonaldland and was often accompanied by hi friends, such as Grimace, Mayor McCheese, Birdie the Early Bird and The Fry Kids. Ronald's lone nemesis may have been The Hamburglar, who made it a point to steal hamburgers in commercials, but Ronald always seemed to have an extra meal for his foe. Though his television appearances have diminished in recent years as McDonald's has focused more on adult menu options including lattes and salads, the clown mascot continued to be a symbol for the Ronald McDonald House, a chain of care facilities that allow parents to stay close to their sick children requiring medical care.

Image source: Wikimedia Commons

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