Ronald McDonald Relevance Through the Years

Ronald McDonald

Ronald McDonald has been announced as McDonald’s new Twitter presence, and the clown received a makeover to complete his new social media transformation. McDonald’s is one of the most prominent fast-food companies in the world; with stores in almost every country, it is a wonder why the fast food chain hasn’t had Ronald McDonald as the media correspondent sooner. Ronald McDonald has not been in the foreground of McDonald’s image for years; what has the clown been up to through the years, and what caused his relevance to be compromised?

The clown will now be represented as much more modern, with an outfit that would be seen on a fashionable twenty-something. With cargo pants and a top reminiscent of a suit jacket, striped Rugby shirt and iconic shoes, the clown is attempting to appeal to young generations, including young professionals. This change comes even after advocacy groups approached the multi-billion dollar company about ditching the clown as a mascot because it was unfairly enticing to children. Ronald McDonald has emerged from his hiatus as a new professional complete with a personal Twitter hashtag: #ronaldmcdonald.

McDonald’s restaurants have kept with the times; many now offer free Wi-Fi and feature large-screened televisions for customers. Though, as many critics say, the company’s clown mascot lost relevance years ago.

The clown first appeared on the scene in 1962, with Willard Scott- the “Today” show weatherman- dressed in clown makeup, a striped shirt and a McDonald’s paper cup for a nose. A decade later, Ronald McDonald appeared with more makeup on his face; a painted nose replacing the cup; and his iconic tamed, but large round hair. In the 1980’s, the clown sported a jumper type outfit with a zipper up the front; this look stuck with Ronald McDonald through the years, until his most recent makeover transformed him into a modern mascot, reviving his relevance as a worthwhile icon.

It may be safe to say that Ronald McDonald lost purpose because he stayed the same in a rapidly changing corporate setting. His smile, look, quotes and personality were all predictable and uninteresting. McDonald’s now understands though that in order to stay popular, a company must evolve with the times. Ronald McDonald will now have his own hashtag, though he still does not have a Facebook or other social media presence. A media spokeswoman for the company states that Ronald is new to the social media realm, so he is starting small.

The clown has not always been in the foreground of the company, though he has always been a presence for many of the charities that McDonald’s supports. An ongoing charity for the company is the Ronald McDonald House Charities (RMHC); millions of dollars have been raised for children in need all over the world. The clown has touched the lives of many children through the years.

Ronald McDonald has made a comeback in a way that put McDonald’s and its mascot back into headlines. The clown’s presence on Twitter will allow the world to relate with the mascot on a more personal level, as well as keep the yellow-clad icon current once again. Ronald McDonald’s relevance has faded in and out through the years; this new makeover and social media addition will surely captivate fans for awhile.

By Courtney Heitter

Chicago Tribune
The Wall Street Journal

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