Ronald McDonald Pushed to Retire

Ronald McDonald is a fast food icon recognized by millions of children worldwide. But, the infamous clown may soon get the boot if a consumer activist group gets its way.

A group of parents, corporate accountability advocates, and healthcare professionals are demanding that McDonalds ditch its iconic brand ambassador, Ronald McDonald – even going so far as to stage a retirement party in Chicago.

“For nearly 50 years no one has been better at hooking kids on unhealthy food, spurring an epidemic of diet related disease,” claims, the website of Corporate Accountability International, the group dedicated to ousting the clown.

The site also claims that McDonalds’ marketing to kids is commercial exploitation that undermines parents, since children do not understand advertising’s persuasive intent.

Researchers at Stanford University found that children thought a number of healthy foods, including carrots and milk, tasted better when served in McDonalds packaging, leading protesters to posit that company branding of unhealthy foods could play a role in the childhood obesity epidemic.

Despite the furor, however, it doesn’t look like Ronald McDonald will get the axe any time soon. According to ABC News, McDonalds spokeswoman Becca Harry said the chain has no immediate plans to retire its “beloved brand ambassador.” The company says that the clown is not only the face, but the heart and soul of the Ronald McDonald House Charities.

In a written statement to the Chicago Tribute, company reps noted, “Ronald also helps deliver messages to families on many important subjects, such as safety, literacy and the importance of physical activity and making balanced food choices.”

One Response

  1. Alicia

    The question this coverage begs is, do families really need a brand ambassador and “educator” from a corporation whose business is to sell junk food? The other question this raises for me is, how can McDonald’s say the “heart and soul” of its Charities is a corporate mascot, not the caretakers who work there and the children who receive care their? That feels deeply shallow to me.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.