McDonald's fast food restaurant chain unveiled a revamped, more modern rendering of their primary clown-mascot Ronald McDonald, and explained that the character will be "setting out on a global mission to rally the public through inspiring events."
The new Ronald now sports cargo pants, a sort of outdoors/adventure-inspired technical vest with many zippers, and a rugby shirt. The new gear is intended to help pull Ronald out of his fantasy realm of McDonaldland and into the domain of social media.
While the new Ronald doesn't yet have his own Twitter account, McDonald’s will promote the hashtag #RonaldMcDonald, for the time being. McDonald's spokesperson Becca Hary commented that the company “felt it was time to evolve his look for his debut into social media.”
Ronald McDonald, "the Hamburger-Happy Clown" was invented by former Today host Willard Scott in 1959, though McDonald's doesn't acknowledge the media personality's involvement in creating the mascot. Along with his friends Mayor McCheese, the Hamburglar, Grimace, Birdie the Early Bird and The Fry Kids, Ronald McDonald has gained worldwide recognition. In Japan, Ronald is called Donald McDonald due to a lack of a clear "r" sound in Japanese, and there are also "sexy" male and female versions of the clown in that country.
At any given time, McDonald's employs hundreds of full-time actors to portray the burger-happy clown, to make appearances in franchise locations, Ronald McDonald Houses and various events. Ronald McDonald mimes have been known to go off the rails here and there, adding to a global collective perception that clowns are unnerving.
Here is a series of Japanese McDonald's commercials featuring Ronald:
Aside from the new tech-vest, Ronald can also don a jacket and bowtie for select appearances:
Ronald McDonald has been given a makeover, but happily he still looks like the serial killer we all grew up with. pic.twitter.com/m8Wwh3yuKM
— Marc Morris (@Longshanks1307) April 27, 2014
McRib enthusiasts are torn over Ronald's new look:
Ronald McDonald, the world's unfunniest clown after John Wayne Gacy, gets a makeover & looks creepier than ever. http://t.co/mOyZJ4prAa
— Vegan (@vegan) April 23, 2014
Ronald McDonald Gets A Hip New Makeover. You Won't Believe. Outrageous Ronald. Explore the Controversy. Please Click This Please Just Click
— The Mountain Goats (@mountain_goats) April 25, 2014
Rycroft was admiring Ronald McDonald's new outfit this morning and ...
— Colin Daniels (@southstands303) April 25, 2014
I'm Lovin' IT: THE REBOOTED RONALD MCDONALD 'TOO SCARY' http://t.co/aOSmI6Yxy3
— THE STUDIO EXEC (@studioexec1) April 27, 2014
@NBCNews i wouldn't accept a happy meal from this guy
— homeless1 (@homeless110) April 25, 2014
@NBCNews My god, they've actually made a clown scarier. At least he's 1880s haute tho.
— Nick Walker (@GodLovesUgly22) April 25, 2014
Regarding Ronald's makeover and hashtag launch, Hary commented, “We’ve been pleased with the reaction Ronald has received in the media with his new debut. He’s an important part of pop culture and enjoys being part of the conversation.”
Image via YouTube