If you thought Ronald McDonald was going the way of Joe Camel or other corporate mascots, think again.
“The answer is no,” McDonald’s Corp.’s CEO Jim Skinner told a room full of shareholders at company’s headquarters in the Chicago suburb of Oak Brook, IL, reports the AP.
“He is a force for good,” Skinner said, referring to the clown’s role with the Ronald McDonald House Charities. “He communicates effectively with children and families around balanced, active lifestyles. He does not hawk food.”
“A force for good” is pretty unambiguous. The company is saying that Ronald is not just about making people happy; his floppy clown shoes leave a trail of positive social change wherever they go – Playplace, for example, has the lowest infant mortality rate in the industrialized world. That’s in direct contrast to, say, Burger King, whose ads always end with a killing spree. (Just kidding, BK libel lawyers!)
The danger in coming out too forcefully for a person or clown, though, is that there’s a dark secret that compromises the clown or person, and I’m afraid I’ve uncovered one for Ronald. Would he still be such a force for good if the world knew he had a secret family in Japan?
From what I’ve been able to piece together, Ronald was doing a charity show at Budokan, and met a lady, and… well, you see the results. I called him for comment and he got very emotional, saying only “You leave them out of this… I’ve always tried to be good to them, through everything…” at which point Birdie grabbed the phone away. Now Grimace is doing massive PR damage control and Mayor McCheese is trying to smooth things over with the Japanese ambassador.
On the plus side, the kids have become a force for good on their own, at least in the fashion world. Asia is under the spell of their “McGoth” look, as it’s called, and kids everywhere are looking at each other and slowly raising a burger up with their arms to the strains of techno music. Technically it’s not a force for good, perhaps, but I’ll take them over those kids who make videos of themselves “rapping” about Big Macs any day.