Ronald McDonald may have once been the much-loved face of McDonald’s, but in recent years he’s fallen out of favour. Critics have slammed him for fuelling obesity in childhood and as such he was last seen in a mainstream UK advert way back in 2004, but if rumours are to be believed he could soon be making a comeback.
Marketing execs at the brand want to bring Ronald back into the foreground, hoping to make him a prominent feature of their marketing campaigns once again. He’s still used in promotional appearances (such as at the McDonald’s Olympic venue recently) and his flawed reputation is something that the company wants to change—Kevin Newell, chief brand officer of the corporation, argues that Ronald is actually a great ambassador for children’s health as he’s never actually seen promoting food. He believes that Ronald could actually help encourage an active lifestyle and hopes that the mascot will become a central part of marketing activity once again, a decision that could only add fuel to the controversial fire.
McDonald’s has already received a wave of criticism since being named one of the main Olympics sponsors, with health campaigners arguing that promoting so-called junk food goes against the whole concept of athleticism. Ronald coming back could cause even more furore—last year 550 campaigners sent an open letter to the chain asking Happy Meals to be banned and even argued that the brand as a whole should be axed to help improve children’s health, with some going so far as to suggest that Ronald should actually be killed off. How will they react to the news that he could be making a comeback? Time will tell, but it’ll be interesting to see how far the brand gets with getting Ronald back into the marketing foreground.