If McDonald's truly wanted its pint-sized customer base to make healthier choices, then why in the name of all things holy would it make its brand new brand ambassador for "balanced and wholesome eating" look like this:
This big toothed, bug-yet-somehow-still-squinty-eyed character's name is Happy. And if you have the power of sight, you might have noticed that he is absolutely terrifying. The social media reaction hasn't been too positive:
McDonald's has some experience with creating characters who strike fear into the hearts of small children. Let's take you back to the time of the original Grimace.
Ron Bergold, the former chief creative officer at McDonald's, wrote a column for QSR Magazine that recalled their accidental creation of the milkshake stealing creature known as Evil Grimace: "The original Grimace was scaly, mean-looking, had four arms, and had no charm whatsoever. He scared kids. We changed him to a soft, plush, two-armed blob of a sweetheart who only wanted McDonald’s milkshakes and to hang out with Ronald."
McDonald's didn't respond for immediate comment about the scared social media responses to the character. But in the company's defense, what fast food mascot isn't just a wee bit terrifying?
The Burger King king literally creeps into customers' beds at night:
And don't even get me started on this guy:
"Happy" was introduced Monday along with the company's new low-fat yogurt. Julie Wenger, McDonald's senior director of U.S. marketing, said in a statement that, "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." Unfortunately, that trip might occur in their nightmares.
UPDATE at 7:40 am,Tuesday: A McDonald's spokesperson provided the following statement regarding Happy:
"Since 2009, as a global McDonald’s character, Happy has been loved and well-received by children and families in Latin America and Europe. Happy is all about encouraging wholesome food choices, like fruit, veggies, and low-fat dairy, and does so in a fun, positive, creative way. Social media is a great place to have a conversation and express an opinion, but not all comments reflect the broader view."