It seems the 51-year-old Ronald McDonald is having a midlife crisis. He’s getting a makeover and a new wardrobe, and has decided to become tech savvy — all at once.
With all the “McFail” we’ve been covering lately, maybe McDonald’s decided it was time to draw the attention away from the negative news stories, and instead re-focus it on its brand’s beloved mascot. Or maybe the company wanted to reclaim its own spokesman after Taco Bell hijacked the Ronald McDonald name in its most recent breakfast campaign.
Either way, the changes are coming, and the fast food chain is hoping social media interaction and increased sales will come along with them.
The clown-like Ronald McDonald that the public has been familiar with since his debut in the 60’s wears giant red shoes, a yellow jumpsuit over a red-and-white striped shirt, and a flaming red wig. While the new incarnation will keep his clown makeup, wig, and comical shoes, the rest of his outfit can best be described as beach comber meets dress-down Friday meets The Warblers from “Glee”.
His new articles of high-fashion clothing, designed by Tony Award-winning theatrical designer Ann Hould-Ward, include yellow highwater cargo pants, a red-and-white striped rugby shirt, a red blazer with yellow piping and decals, and a bowtie.
McDonald’s said it plans to feature the modern Mr. McDonald in US commercials and promotional materials later this year, and also in character graphics and furniture in remodeled restaurants over the next few years.
And what’s a modern brand mascot without an online presence? McDonalds plans to share Ronald McDonald’s goings on via social media channels by using the hashtag #RonaldMcDonald. While there’s no word yet whether he’ll have his own Twitter handle someday, the company will be sharing its mascot’s thoughts and actions via its own handle @McDonaldsCorp.
Can the updated branding plan revive the burger chain’s lower-than-expected profits better than hair plugs and a convertible can revive the social life of your average victim of midlife crisis? We guess we’ll just have to wait and see.