The Woodward News

Community News Network

May 20, 2014

McDonald's new mascot: Creepy or kid-friendly?

NEW YORK — This week, McDonald's introduced "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." This "brand ambassador" is named Happy, and he/she/it is an anthropomorphized Happy Meal box.

Not surprisingly, the American reaction to Happy's introduction has been one of horror. "McDonald's Has a New Mascot, and It's Terrifying" was the headline at Mashable. "Perhaps everyone and their children will be too frightened by Happy to ever eat at McDonald's again?" asked Gawker's Aleksander Chan. The Washington Post's Mark Berman dubbed Happy "the McDonald's Happy Meal Box Who Came To Life Because You Didn't Clean Your Room Last Night."

Indeed, it's difficult to imagine small children falling in love with Happy, shrieking in delight when Happy appears in television commercials and begging their parents for a plush stuffed Happy to cuddle at night. Happy is, in fact, so intuitively unappealing that I have to wonder if that's the point. The character is ostensibly meant to "encourage kids to enjoy fruits, vegetables, low-fat dairy and wholesome beverages such as water or juice" — but maybe that's a bit of psychological trickery. Perhaps McDonald's wants kids to associate healthy fare with the terror of looking into Happy's gaping maw, thereby making them less likely to want to eat fresh produce and more likely to want to eat relatively unthreatening chicken nuggets.

An alternate (or complementary) theory is that Happy is in fact meant not to connect with children, but with adults, specifically the adults who drink heavily and then eat McDonald's fries to soak up the excess alcohol. Look at Happy's eyes, specifically the lower lids: Those are not the eyes of a sober Happy Meal box. They are the eyes of a Happy Meal box at the tail end of a serious bender.

1
Text Only
Community News Network
  • Wal-Mart to cut prices more aggressively in back-to-school push

    Wal-Mart Stores plans to cut prices more aggressively during this year's back-to-school season and will add inventory to its online store as the chain battles retailers for student spending.

    July 21, 2014

  • Hospitals let patients schedule ER visits

    Three times within a week, 34-year-old Michael Granillo went to the emergency room at Northridge Hospital Medical Center in Los Angeles because of intense back pain. Each time, Granillo, who didn't have insurance, stayed for less than an hour before leaving without being seen by a doctor.

    July 21, 2014

  • Starved Pennsylvania 7-year-old weighed only 25 pounds

    A 7-year-old Pennsylvania boy authorities described as being so underweight he looked like a human skeleton has been released from the hospital.

    July 21, 2014

  • Malaysians wonder 'Why us?' after second loss of airline jet

    It was all too familiar. Grieving families rushing to airport. The flashing television graphics of a plane's last radar appearance. The uncomfortable officials before a heavy thicket of microphones.
    For many Malaysians, the disappearance of Flight 370 in March has been a long trauma from which the nation has not yet recovered.

    July 18, 2014

  • A quarter of the world's most educated people live in the 100 largest cities

    College graduates are increasingly sorting themselves into high-cost, high-amenity cities such as Washington, New York, Boston and San Francisco, a phenomenon that threatens to segregate us across the country by education.

    July 18, 2014

  • Your chocolate addiction is only going to get more expensive

    For nearly two years, cocoa prices have been on the rise. Finally, that's affecting the price you pay for a bar of chocolate - and there's reason to believe it's only the beginning.

    July 18, 2014

  • Facebook tests button to let people shop from its website

    Members on desktop computers or mobile devices can click a "buy" button to make purchases through advertisements or other posts on the world's largest social network, the Menlo Park, California-based company said Thursday in a blog post.

    July 17, 2014

  • The terrible history of passenger planes getting shot out of the sky

    What is more clear is that, if initial reports are true, this would be the deadliest incident of a civilian passenger plane being shot down in modern memory. In some instances, the causes of the disaster are still shrouded in mystery. Here are some of the worst events.

    July 17, 2014

  • 130408_NT_BEA_good kids We're raising a generation of timid kids

    A week ago, a woman was charged with leaving her child in the car while she went into a store. Her 11-year-old child. This week, a woman was arrested for allowing her 9-year-old daughter to go to the park alone. Which raises just one question: America, what the heck is wrong with you?

    July 17, 2014 1 Photo

  • web_starbucks-cof_big_ce.jpg Starbucks sees more Apple-like stores after Colombia debut

    This week Starbucks opened its first location in Colombia — a 2,700-square-foot store with a heated patio, concrete columns, mirrors on the ceiling and walls of colorful plants.

    July 17, 2014 1 Photo