The New Happy Meal Brand Ambassador is Scaring the Daylights Out of People

Three tips for creating a mascot people will like.

happy meal ambassadorMcDonald’s has introduced a new brand ambassador for its children’s Happy Meal, named Happy. It’s going to be nationwide on May 23 “and will encourage kids to enjoy fruits, vegetables, low-fat dairy and wholesome beverages such as water or juice.”

Of course, because the Internet shows no mercy, they jumped all over this new character. Example: “It’s the meal that eats you.”

Time points out that McDonald’s has a history of creating the brand ambassadors of people’s nightmares. Seriously, take a minute to look at the creepy poop pile that once was Grimace. Also, that article reminds us about the Quizno’s radioactive rat that it used to sell sandwiches before the company filed for bankruptcy.

We thought we’d help out with three tips for creating a mascot that doesn’t scare people.

Be careful with the eyes. Remember, the eyes are the windows to the soul. If the brand ambassador’s eyes are crazy, vacant or kind of darting in different directions, it gives the impression of dishonesty. Or at the very least, that something is amiss with this character and, by extension, the brand.

Don’t make the mouth too big. A bright wide smile is one thing. It’s another if the mouth resembles the plant from Little Shop of Horrors. And make sure the teeth are non-threatening.

Give the brand ambassador something people can relate to. The problem with the characters highlighted in that Time ad is that they’re too weird. (Grimace is just gross.) A mascot can be strange looking, but there needs to be something that people can latch on to that goes beyond the way it looks. For instance, the Geico Gecko has a sophisticated accent that offsets the fact that it’s a lizard. Maybe if Happy eventually has some healthy words coming out of that gigantic mouth, people will feel a little better about it.