Why Did McDonald’s Get Rid of Ronald McDonald? (Not What You Think)

One of the most iconic aspects of McDonald’s is Ronald McDonald, but have you noticed he vanished and hasn’t been seen in years?

If you’re wondering why McDonald’s got rid of Ronald McDonald, keep reading because we have all the juicy gossip about his disappearance below!

Why Did McDonald’s Get Rid of Ronald McDonald?

McDonald’s got rid of Ronald McDonald due to the creepy clowns that were being spotted all over the United States, United Kingdom, and other countries throughout the world in 2016. McDonald’s appears to have retired Ronald, but he became the most well-known food mascot thanks to the creativity of Coco the Clown reinventing the image.

There’s a lot more to this story, so read on to learn even more about Ronald McDonald and his disappearance from McDonald’s!

Why Did Ronald McDonald Leave McDonald’s?

Ronald McDonald left McDonald’s because the restaurant put him on a hiatus due to a very strange phenomenon of clown sightings that swept the United States and abroad.

Back in 2016, you may remember hearing about clowns being spotted late at night and trying to scare people, which at first started as pranks that people would pull on their community.

Further, it started in the United States but quickly spread to the United Kingdom and elsewhere, with U.K Police saying it wasn’t funny and not a laughing matter at all.

On top of that, it started to get scary as one clown chased school children with a knife in his hand, and in a different situation, a clown tried to lure children into the woods.

At the time, McDonald’s said that it would just be a hiatus for Ronald McDonald, but the man has hardly been seen since, and it appears that McDonald’s officially retired the character.

What’s the Story Behind Ronald McDonald?

Ronald McDonald popped up as an advertising gimmick in the Washington, D.C., area and was played by Willard Scott in 1963.

Furthermore, the pitch was Ronald pulling out hamburgers from his belt, and he wore a hat that was in the shape of a food tray with a Styrofoam burger, milkshake, and fries on the tray.

Ronald also used a McDonald’s cup as his nose, and he was the embodiment of McDonald’s food from head to toe.

However, before Ronald went national, McDonald’s chose to get rid of Scott because he was too heavy for the part of an active person and switched to another actor.

If you watch the first television commercial, you’ll agree that this version was not good and was much creepier than the Ronald that ultimately became the mascot.

How Did Ronald McDonald Become a Clown?

In 1965, McDonald’s was looking to revamp Ronald McDonald while in the beginning phases of the character and chose Coco the Clown for the job.

Additionally, Coco the Clown came up with the makeup and costume that we’ve come to know as Ronald McDonald.

That is why there was such a change from the first Ronald with the hat and hamburgers coming out of his belt to the character that became the McDonald’s mascot we’ve come to know.

Was Ronald McDonald Always Going to Be a Clown?

Was Ronald McDonald Always Going to be a Clown?

Ronald could have been a spaceman or cowboy, as it was discussed during the initial phases of advertising and before he was a national mascot for McDonald’s.

Furthermore, during this time, the United States was investing in space, and Westerns were the most popular genre on television, so it did make sense, but advertising changed their mind and opted for a clown.

Is Ronald McDonald Known Worldwide?

While Ronald McDonald is known worldwide and is the McDonald’s mascot, the people in Japan call him Donald McDonald, although the premise of Donald is just the same as Ronald.

Donald McDonald’s is much easier for Japanese people to pronounce as opposed to Ronald.

Who Played Ronald McDonald?

Ronald McDonald has been played by several actors over the years, including the brief stint by Willard Scott in the beginning, but other actors that have played Ronald include:

  • Bev Bergeron
  • George Voorhis
  • Michael Polakovs
  • Ray Rayner
  • Viv Weekes
  • Bob Brandon
  • King Moody
  • Squire Fridell
  • Jack Doepke
  • David Hussey
  • Brad Lennon

How Have People Used Ronald McDonald as a Symbol?

Ronald McDonald has become a symbol well beyond a McDonald’s mascot and is thought of more as a symbol of the fast-food market in America.

Additionally, some people think of Ronald McDonald as a symbol of Corporate America and capitalism.

However, some groups use the character to show oppression, such as in Hong Kong back in 2000, where the people in China were protesting the labor policy of McDonald’s.

When Was the Last Time Ronald McDonald Was In a Commercial?

McDonald’s stopped using Ronald McDonald in commercials back in 2003, which is when the company began its new campaign called “I’m Lovin’ it!”

Additionally, that new campaign was aimed more at the adult population than children, which is why Ronald was shelved since he was more popular and entertaining for younger audiences.

“I’m Lovin’ It!” is still the McDonald’s campaign used today, and it has become the longest-running McDonald’s campaign in history, with no plans to change it anytime soon.

To learn more about McDonald’s, you can also read our posts on McDonald’s slogan, McDonald’s target market, who is Grimace, and if McDonald’s is a good place to work.

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Marques Thomas

Marques Thomas graduated with a MBA in 2011. Since then, Marques has worked in the retail and consumer service industry as a manager, advisor, and marketer. Marques is also the head writer and founder of QuerySprout.com.

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