Burger-meister McDonald’s – once the home of Grimace and the Hamburgler – introduced another new mascot today, a computer-generated talking Happy Meal box called… wait for it… “Happy.” And, from its horrifying appearance, apparently his job is to make McDonald’s new “healthy” Happy Meals unpalatable to kids.
Or, at least make them afraid — eat, or be eaten!
Check out what McDonald’s press release has to say about it:
McDonald’s [Monday] introduced ‘Happy,’ a new animated Happy Meal character that brings fun and excitement to kids’ meals while also serving as an ambassador for balanced and wholesome eating. Happy will be introduced nationwide May 23, and will encourage kids to enjoy fruits, vegetables, low-fat dairy and wholesome beverages such as water or juice.
“Parents and kids across the U.S. can also look forward to an additional side option for Happy Meals and Mighty Kids Meals starting July 4: Go-GURT® Low-Fat Strawberry Yogurt. This Go-GURT Low-Fat Strawberry Yogurt is made exclusively for McDonald’s, contains 50 calories, has 25 percent less sugar than the leading kid’s low-fat yogurt and is made with natural flavor. Guests now have more options for sides in kids’ meals – they can choose either Go-GURT Low-Fat Strawberry Yogurt or apple slices, or choose both together as their sides in place of a kid-size fry.
“These new additions are the latest examples of McDonald’s USA’s ongoing dedication to children’s nutrition and well-being as part of its ‘Commitments to Offer Improved Nutrition Choices.’
“‘At McDonald’s, we’re always looking to bring fun and happiness to families and listening to our customers’ asks (sic) to have more variety and wholesome options for kids to enjoy in their Happy Meals,’ said Julie Wenger, senior director of U.S. marketing, McDonald’s. ‘Together, Happy and Go-GURT Low-Fat Strawberry Yogurt give kids and parents something to look forward to during their next trip to McDonald’s.’”
I think I see what’s going on here: McDonald’s is not content to risk its bread-and-butter business of hawking burger-and-fries combos on making healthy eating in a fast-food joint look dorky; no, the company is going to make it look
frightening scary terrifying! I mean, look at this “Happy” character – he looks like the kind of spree-murderer you’d expect to see birthed by a constant diet of brain-melting fast food, right? He looks like he’s ready to use those huge choppers to take a bite out of little Billy or Cindy at any moment. Can anyone else picture 1980s comedian Yakov Smirnoff saying: “In Soviet Russia, Kids Meal eats you!”
Happy is certainly no Mac Tonight – the mascot with the crescent moon-shaped head who riffed on “Mack the Knife.” Interestingly, that late-‘80s mascot got a CGI makeover in 2007, but is used mostly in Asian markets. Some folks though Mac Tonight was scary!
I’m betting this is what McDonald’s is hoping: that kids will reject the healthy, politically correct apple yogurt slices (or whatever they put in there) in favor of the deep-fried, machine-processed goodness that made America great.
Meanwhile, McDonald’s marketing to a more… uh, adult audience on Twitter continues apace:
Clearly, the Chicken McNuggets are all breast meat.
(Images via McDonald’s)