Yesterday, McDonald’s shared news that left parents and children skeptical and terrified.
The multibillion dollar fast food restaurant introduced a new mascot named “Happy,” an animated Happy Meal character that’s meant to bring fun and excitement to the kids’ meal. Happy will also serve as an ambassador for healthy eating. He will encourage Mickey D’s young clientele to opt for water or juice rather than soda, for instance. In their press release, senior marketing director, Julie Wenger said “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.” On May 23, McDonald’s plans to formally introduce Happy to the United States.
McDonald’s reports, ” Happy was first introduced in 2009 to children and families in France. Happy has since made its way to Latin America and other countries in Europe.”
Although the ultimate goal of Happy is positive, American customers are not “loving it.” Yesterday afternoon, McDonald’s released a photo of Happy via Twitter. Their followers sounded off with some colorful commentary.
According to TIME magazine, a McDonald’s spokesperson said of the backlash, “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.”
The mascot was meant to be one more step towards responding to the criticism that McDonald’s encourages bad eating habits. The company has automatically added apple slices to Happy Meals and reduced the size of the French fries portion since 2012. The low-fat yogurt side is coming on July 4.
Does Happy make you happy?