By: Nicole Raymond
Clown mascot Ronald McDonald is on leave after clown incidents across the country
America has seen many fads over the years, including poodle skirts, parachute pants, pet rocks and silly bands, but this year, Americans are experiencing what they can only hope is a strange new fad. Creepy clowns have been sighted across the country hanging around schools, playgrounds and wooded areas giving many people the heebie-jeebies. The clowns have caused schools to close due to threats—creating somewhat of an epidemic, and McDonald’s took notice.
McDonald’s released a statement that they would be removing their clown mascot Ronald McDonald from community activities and promotions until further notice. They made the decision to cut Ronald McDonald because they wanted to show they were aware of the rising concerns over clowns and were taking measures to ease some of the community’s worries.
Part of the formal statement read, “McDonald’s and franchisees in the local markets are mindful of the current climate around clown sightings in communities and as such are being thoughtful in respect to Ronald McDonald’s participation in community events for the time being.” I both applaud and question their statement.
I think this was a good move on McDonald’s part, but it seems a bit extreme considering that clown sightings have been of scary clowns, and Ronald McDonald is a happy clown. However, it shows that McDonald’s cares about the communities they are in and don’t want to upset them. I also think making a public statement was a wise choice because it allowed the public to understand the decision, and the media to cover the story as it relates to popular culture.
I question this decision because McDonald’s hasn’t used Ronald McDonald in any marketing tools in quite some time. According to a Chicago Tribune article, Ronald McDonald hasn’t been in the news since 2014 when he underwent a makeover for the first time in a decade. The article also noted that Ronald McDonald has been laying low long before the clown scare, which is evident by his Twitter page with no tweets or activity.
What do you think about McDonald’s decision?
Nicole Raymond is senior majoring in public relations and double minoring in marketing and communications. This is her first year serving on EMU PRSSA’s E-board as VP of External Relations. Nicole is a wife, aunt, daughter, sister and friend. Connect with her on Twitter and Instagram @nicoleraymond74.