McDonald’s has introduced its latest marketing mascot. Meet “Happy,” a happy meal with arms, legs, and a smile.
At first glance, Happy looks to be your garden variety, run-of-the-mill fast-food mascot. But this friendly box, first introduced in Latin America in 2009, is being described by some media as “terrifying.” While not as creepy as every incarnation of Ronald McDonald (yep, even the new one), before evaluating a mascot’s fear factor one must view it in the context of all mascots. Or any character aimed at kids. Seriously, Barney or Teletubbies, anyone? Anyone terrified by Happy has clearly never spent hours on end watching a certain French Canadian horror show.
Is Happy any creepier than a strange masked man who will lie in wait to steal your burgers when you least suspect it? Of course not. Mascots are for kids, and kids’ tastes can be pretty damn weird. But any operation that since 2012 has managed to convince kids to take more than 1.1 billion bags of apple slices instead of fries has earned the benefit of the doubt.