So Ronald McDonald got promoted. He’s now Chief Happiness Officer at McDonald’s. Congrats, Ronnie! What a well-deserved promotion. And overdue too.
But this isn’t some deal where he’s been kicked upstairs to make balloon animals all day; his job duties have changed as well. Ronald’s going to be going into schools to promote the joys of physical activity.
The timing of this news is curious, coming just a couple of days after that tobacco-style lawsuit against McDonald’s was revived by a New York state appeals court. And as much as McDonald’s wants to say that Ronald won’t be talking burgers and fries in any appearances, his mere appearance certainly brings Big Macs to mind more than say, fruit.
I know being cynical is easy (the likelihood of me becoming a Chief Happiness Officer some day are slim indeed), and I know that no matter what McDonald’s did, they’d come in for criticism in all likelihood. Maybe they’re right that Ronald’s enough of a role model/icon for children that his promotion of being active will lead less kids to turning into couch potatoes. But if you had to design a campaign that exuded more … let’s say … sincerity, what would you do? If you’re McDonald’s, how do you get out of this box?