“Ronald McDonald is an ambassador for good. Ronald McDonald isn’t going anywhere.”
In 2011 then-CEO of McDonald’s Jim Skinner was very clear when he told critics that the mascot, first introduced in 1963, was not retiring any time soon.
Now in 2014, Ronald is taking on a new face. Or rather, a new wardrobe.
Sporting a new red blazer with the Golden Arches logo on the front pocket (and Ronald’s stylized signature on the back), yellow cargo pants, a vest with a red-and-white striped rugby shirt, and a bow tie as well, there is no need for the oversized shoes anymore. Ronald is stylin’! In fact, his get-up was created by Broadway designer Ann Hould-Ward, designer of the Beauty and the Beast costumes which earned her a 1994 Tony Award.
But it isn’t just Ronald’s clothes that are creating new attention for the iconic fast food character. He is also beginning to appear more on social media such as Twitter using #RonaldMcDonald to promote his mission statement: “fun makes great things happen.”
However, not everyone on Twitter is responding well to the “new” Ronald.
Why'd they have to change #RonaldMcDonald outfit he looks way different
— daltonfelisha_ (@felishadalton_) April 25, 2014
— Rana Bolyard (@rbolyard) April 25, 2014
— Jessi Renee (@Jester_NeNe) April 25, 2014
McDonald’s definitely needs the “new.” On Tuesday the company said its profit tanked 5% in the first quarter and sales at stores open at least a year in the U.S. slid 1.7%. Shares closed flat on Wednesday at 99.13.
Ronald “Revamped” will begin appearing on more of the store’s graphics, decor, and on television ads in the next few years.
“Customers today want to engage with brands in different ways, and Ronald will continue to evolve to be modern and relevant,” said McDonald’s senior vice president Dean Barrett.
But brand consultant Kate Newlin says that the move feels forced. “As a strategy, it feels a little desperate” and that it’s as if the new Ronald is shouting, “Please remember you once loved me.”
This isn’t the first time Ronald has gotten a makeover, though. He was last redesigned in 2005, although it wasn’t as drastic as this.
What do you think of Ronald’s new look? Are you lovin’ it? Does it actually make you want to step back into a McDonald’s and order some piping hot (or cold, depending how lucky you are) french fries?
— Sean Miller (@seanianmiller) June 5, 2011
Image via YouTube