Ronald McDonald Should Retire?

Kim Conte
7

ronald mcdonald
Flickr photo by rensenbrink78
Ronald McDonald may be out of a job soon if a team of health professionals, parents, and other advocates have their way.

The activist coalition -- called Corporate Accountability International -- is pushing for an early retirement for the McDonald's fictional spokesperson. It's reasoning? Ronald has too much influence on kids and is contributing to the fast food industry childhood obesity crisis.

If an unemployed Ronald McDonald seems inconceivable, remember that Corporate Accountability International was the group that successfully pushed Joe Camel of Camel Cigarettes into retirement.

I applaud almost all efforts to reduce childhood obesity, but the Ronald McDonald blame game strikes me as misplaced. To me it suggests that the reason kids are eating too many Happy Meals is because Ronald is doing such a great marketing job, and not because their parents are driving them through the drive-through lane.

I wouldn't go as far as the McDonald's (real-life) spokesperson who claimed that Ronald's role "is to bring out the fun side of having meals with family and to promote an active lifestyle." (The "promoting the active lifestyle" part is my favorite.) But I don't see fictional marketing mascots as being the primary cause of obesity and other weight-related diseases.

What's next? What about that creepy hand puppet in the Hamburger Helper commercials or the Pillsbury Dough Boy? Will those spokesperson (spokethings?) be the next to go?

Do you think Ronald McDonald should retire early?

Read More