business news in context, analysis with attitude

The Chicago Tribune reports that “a coalition of health professionals, parents and corporate accountability advocates is calling for Ronald McDonald to retire as a spokesman for the nation's largest restaurant chain, saying he has too much influence on kids.”

The coalition, which goes by the name Corporate Accountability International, says that it has done research saying that most Americans agree that Ronald McDonald should be shown the door; it was the same coalition that was behind the movement to retire Joe Camel from tobacco advertising.

In a statement, McDonald’s responds that the clown mascot “is the heart and soul of Ronald McDonald House Charities, which lends a helping hand to families in their time of need ...Ronald also helps deliver messages to families on many important subjects such as safety, literacy, and the importance of physical activity and making balanced food choices. That's what Ronald McDonald is all about, which our customers know and appreciate."
KC's View:
Yes, Ronald McDonald is all about these altruistic enterprises. But he’s also about selling hamburgers, fries and all the other stuff that McDonald’s sells.

However, this may be one of the dumbest initiatives that I can imagine.

Ronald McDonald is a successful mascot for a successful company. And McDonald’s shouldn’t be victimized for its own success. (And I’m no fan of McDonald’s.) It also says something important that the mascot has been used as an important symbol of corporate philanthropy.

Joe Camel was something different - a cartoon character being used by a company to sell to young people products designed to addict and kill them. Call me crazy, but my standard is a little different.

Maybe the folks at Corporate Accountability International could find something better to do with their time. There are plenty of great corporate targets out there, examples of people and companies that behave atrociously.

Ronald NcDonald ain’t one of them.