Daily Independent (Ashland, KY)

CNHI News Service Originals

May 21, 2014

McDonald's new mascot: Creepy or kid-friendly?

NEW YORK — This week, McDonald's introduced "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." This "brand ambassador" is named Happy, and he/she/it is an anthropomorphized Happy Meal box.

Not surprisingly, the American reaction to Happy's introduction has been one of horror. "McDonald's Has a New Mascot, and It's Terrifying" was the headline at Mashable. "Perhaps everyone and their children will be too frightened by Happy to ever eat at McDonald's again?" asked Gawker's Aleksander Chan. The Washington Post's Mark Berman dubbed Happy "the McDonald's Happy Meal Box Who Came To Life Because You Didn't Clean Your Room Last Night."

Indeed, it's difficult to imagine small children falling in love with Happy, shrieking in delight when Happy appears in television commercials and begging their parents for a plush stuffed Happy to cuddle at night. Happy is, in fact, so intuitively unappealing that I have to wonder if that's the point. The character is ostensibly meant to "encourage kids to enjoy fruits, vegetables, low-fat dairy and wholesome beverages such as water or juice" — but maybe that's a bit of psychological trickery. Perhaps McDonald's wants kids to associate healthy fare with the terror of looking into Happy's gaping maw, thereby making them less likely to want to eat fresh produce and more likely to want to eat relatively unthreatening chicken nuggets.

An alternate (or complementary) theory is that Happy is in fact meant not to connect with children, but with adults, specifically the adults who drink heavily and then eat McDonald's fries to soak up the excess alcohol. Look at Happy's eyes, specifically the lower lids: Those are not the eyes of a sober Happy Meal box. They are the eyes of a Happy Meal box at the tail end of a serious bender.

1
Text Only
CNHI News Service Originals
  • Michigan ex-prosecutor arrested in murder-for-hire plot

    A former Michigan prosecutor was charged Monday with soliciting a hitman to murder the attorney who represented a business partner in a contentious fraud and malpractice lawsuit over the ownership of a golf course.

    July 14, 2014

  • rock.jpg Struck by rock thrown from overpass, Ohio mom fights for life

    A 52-year-old Uniontown, Ohio, mother of four fought for her life in a hospital here Monday as a result of a rock thrown from a highway overpass that shattered the windshield of the family car during a trip to New York City.

    July 14, 2014 1 Photo

  • Elderly woman accused of killing 89-year-old husband

    An 83-year-old woman, described as "a loose cannon" by her landlord, has been arrested in this Buffalo suburb for beating her 89-year-old husband to death.

    July 8, 2014

  • taylor.armerding.jpg Taxi owners, government patrons try forcing Uber to go 'off-duty'

    Uber gives urban passengers an enticing alternative. Rides on-demand arrive faster than taxis, are cheaper and cleaner, and get rated by customers. Rather than hail innovation, government enablers are helping the heavily regulated taxicab industry freeze out the upstart.

    June 28, 2014 1 Photo

  • Screen Shot 2014-06-18 at 4.29.43 PM.png Amazon enters smartphone wars with Fire Phone

    Amazon.com stepped into the smartphone ring Tuesday with the Fire Phone. Playing up Amazon's devotion to the individual customer and the media ecosystem it has built with its Prime subscription service, chief executive Jeff Bezos said that Amazon's growing universe of services set the phone apart.

    June 19, 2014 1 Photo

  • Nelly-elephant.jpg Bet the farm: 5 'psychic' animals predict soccer victories

    Need some guidance on whom to place your bets for this year's World Cup? Since Paul the Octopus achieved a prediction success rate of 85 percent in 2010, hosts of animal oracles around the world have sought attention as soccer sages. Here's a look at a few of them.

    June 19, 2014 1 Photo

  • 1065.jpg The end of 'Redskins?' Social media reacts to trademark cancellation

    The United States Patent and Trademark Office has canceled the trademarks of the Washington Redskins on the basis that it is "disparaging to Native Americans.” Reaction to the decision was, predictably, divided and intense. Here is a sampling from Twitter and YouTube.

    June 19, 2014 1 Photo

  • Judge's wife admits she spiked his drink with antifreeze

    An Ohio grandmother has pleaded guilty to felonious assault of her  husband, a prominent local judge, by lacing his glass of wine with antifreeze before he turned in for the night.

    June 19, 2014

  • Even monarchs don't have job security anymore

    Like it or not, lifetime tenure is no longer standard practice, even for royalty. Juan Carlos, 76, is the third septuagenarian monarch in the last 18 months to abdicate, after Queen Beatrix of the Netherlands and King Albert II of Belgium. And that's not counting Pope Benedict XVI. With the media exposing their frailties and foibles, and with polls tracking their popularity, monarchs have become as accountable as any politician.

    June 2, 2014

  • Hospital charges to treat chest pain jump 10 percent in a year

    The charge to treat Medicare patients with chest pain at U.S. hospitals rose 10 percent to $18,568 in just a year, the biggest rise seen among the most common inpatient procedures, according to federal data.

    June 2, 2014