McDonald’s is looking to re-enter the social media market with their new Happy Meal Ambassador, but does the public think it is too scary for kids? The bright red box with the big eyes and big teeth seems a good image for the promotion of the new Happy Meal, however many people on Twitter believe it is just the opposite. The popular fast food chain is rolling out new and more nutritious meals for kids, including strawberry yogurt, which will be available in July of this year and along with that they will also roll out a new mascot. The Happy Meal Ambassador was rolled out on Twitter on Monday, and received a lukewarm reception to say the least. Comments ranged from ‘scary’ to snarky comments about the overall design of the box. Some seem to think it is too simplistic and an overall failure, however looking back at some of the other famous Happy Meal characters leads one to ask, is it really that bad? McDonald’s stated in a press release that they want to encourage children to eat more fruits and vegetables along with juice or water for a healthier drink choice. Happy is only new in the United States, he was actually debuted in France back in 2009.
The yogurt option that will be available is being made just for the restaurant chain, and is being branded as Go-Gurt made by Yoplait. It is said to have less sugar than its grocery store namesake and is made with all natural flavors. So now kids will have a choice between the yogurt and the currently available apple slices, or both in lieu of french fries. This new push for healthier meals will come with a new character to promote it, however it is not known if this will include commercials, or if they will just stick to social media promotions. McDonald’s used to be the premier promoter of its products, cleverly gearing all media to children through the use of Ronald McDonald, the Grimace and the Hamburgler. After a hiatus to promote and work with the Ronald McDonald house charities, the iconic clown has been back to promote the new and improved Happy Meals. It is said that the image of Ronald McDonald will be given a refreshed and updated image this summer and will be appearing more often via social media.
McDonald land was a big part of the marketing push back in the 80’s and 90’s and the cast of characters was diverse, colorful and fun. Is Happy the Ambassador the newest and next big thing for the restaurant chain? In the end it will be the kids that determine Happy’s fate and not those on Twitter that are a bit older than the demographic that this character is targeted for. Admittedly the eyes are big and the mouth full of teeth is large, but all in all, how much scarier is this little box than a burglar? Time will tell if the newest member of the McDonald’s family is going to be a hit, or be too scary for kids.
Opinion by Kristi Cereska