McDonald’s efforts to promote the “Happy Meal” as a more healthy meal suffered a public relations setback today — and least among the arbiters of taste on Twitter.
The fast food giant announced a new yogurt option and introduced “Happy,” an animated Happy Meal box. As a McDonald’s press release explained, Happy is “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. Happy will be introduced nationwide May 23, and will encourage kids to enjoy fruits, vegetables, low-fat dairy and wholesome beverages such as water or juice.”
Sounds safe enough, right? Yes, except for the fact that big-toothed, bug-eyed Happy is a bit scary looking, in an evil clown sort of way. You be the judge:
Say hello to our newest friend, Happy! http://t.co/CuR3hU8Chj #HappyMeal pic.twitter.com/xgluLaHfcY
— McDonald’s (@McDonalds) May 19, 2014
The social media reaction was swift. Moments after @McDonalds introduced the character to its 2.35 million followers on Twitter, it started getting harsh responses, two of the first four dropping F-bombs. It didn’t take long for more people to notice and react; I couldn’t find any Happy defenders.
Here are a few of the funny and interesting reactions:
To the marketing person at McDonalds who came up with “Happy” the Happy Meal – your mother and I are very disappointed in you.
— Luke Dunne (@MisterCinecal) May 19, 2014
Anyone else just think of #Scarface? “@McDonalds: Say hello to our newest friend, Happy! http://t.co/TPtE84ZHa9 pic.twitter.com/q2JLKWDYKt”
— Lucia Cascioli (@Luciawriter) May 19, 2014
Happy? I am McHorrified, @mcdonalds
— انور الصقر (@Anwxr) May 19, 2014
KIDS WE’RE GOING TO BURGER KING RT @McDonalds Say hello to our newest friend, Happy! #HappyMeal pic.twitter.com/K45VYc3zEJ
— Jack Baer (@JFordBaer) May 19, 2014
Hey @McDonalds is that Gary Busey?
— Ian (@muddymudskipper) May 19, 2014
@McDonalds Is this trying to drive people away from eating happy meals? Because if that’s on the box, I know it would scare my niece.
— Darkdata (@Darkdatatrc) May 19, 2014
@applextree @McDonalds I didn’t want to sleep tonight anyways, it’s cool.
— Jamie (@wonkachu) May 19, 2014
@applextree @McDonalds it’s the meal that eats you
— steev (@Naive_Steve) May 19, 2014
@jitka @McDonalds a McStake
— damn fine hat (@BromanConsul) May 19, 2014
“HEY KIDS! I’M GONNA EAT YOUR SOULS!” RT @McDonalds Say hello to our newest friend, Happy! http://t.co/CN7QU9Ku08 pic.twitter.com/lPdUhapVrv
— Sons of Steve Garvey (@sosgsosg) May 19, 2014
Seriously, who sat in a meeting about declining Happy Meal sales or whatever, and said “you know what we need? This!” pic.twitter.com/L2RalICzX7
— Boogie (@naima) May 19, 2014
And finally …
I found the perfect way to make the new McDonalds Happy mascot really happy pic.twitter.com/N5eZiEt2h9
— Danny Sullivan (@dannysullivan) May 19, 2014