Did McDonald’s get rid of Ronald McDonald’s?

By Phillip Adcock
Last updated: Apr 14, 2023
Mcdonald's Get Rid Of Ronald Mcdonald

Ronald McDonald is the first and only icon of this fast-food chain up to date. However, you may find that it rarely appears or seems to have completely disappeared over the years.

If so, did McDonald’s get rid of Ronald? This article will reveal the story about it below this article. Continue reading to satisfy your curiosity.

Why Did McDonald’s Get Rid Of Ronald McDonald In 2024?

The truth is that the company’s mascot used to be completely removed in the U.S., U.K., and other countries in 2016. It has received much criticism and opposition from the public because extremist elements have been abused and various acts of violence.

Some people have used similar looks and appeared with weapons in hand. It has rapidly spread as a trend and instilled fear in many people. Therefore, the company was forced to quickly reduce the popularity of this mascot and only let it appear in certain media.

The Story Of Ronald McDonald

This iconic aspect debuted in an advertising campaign in the Washington D.C. area in 1963. Willard Scott, who had a similar role in “Bozo, The World’s Most Famous Clown“, was chosen as the first person to play the role for two consecutive years.

The Story Of Ronald McDonald

The clown debuted with a costume designed entirely based on the typical McDonald’s dishes.

He will wear a hat looked like a tray of hamburgers, milkshakes, and fries. His nose is covered with a small cup with the brand’s logo printed on it. The red and yellow striped suit is the company’s signature two colors, accompanied by a square white scarf around the neck.

This mascot often visits children in the hospital and attends related events regularly. At one time, this company had to recruit more than 300 clowns to be able to appear at the same time at external and internal events.

In addition, the company also built Ronald McDonald Houses to serve as overnight residences for parents and children, which was near health care centers.

Why Did Ronald McDonald Leave McDonald’s?

The company had to hire nearly 300 people to pose as clowns and attend events at its peak.

Since 2010, Corporate Accountability International in Boston, Massachusetts, has persuaded the company to give up its mascot because of childhood obesity. The organization also pointed out that it is unethical to have a fast-food advertising campaign aimed at children. However, CEO Jim Skinner turned down this offer.

Instead, in 2011, the company reappeared as a clown in the media, although it did not receive much positive response.

Until 2016, it received a lot of criticism from health experts. Its image in the public eye is also diminished by masquerading. They pose as clowns carrying weapons and also commit some shocking crimes. 

Some of them tried to scare the others at night. This action became a trend and spread from the U.S. to the U.K. and other places. The children were even scared when a clown chased them with a knife in hand. And they could also face danger when being lured into the forest by this character.

Consequently, many people felt fear instead of joy when they saw McDonald’s mascot as before.

The Real Reason McDonald’s Got Rid Of Ronald McDonald


Is Ronald McDonald Known Worldwide?

Yes. This mascot is famous in many places where this fast-food chain appears, such as the U.S., U.K., Australia, Japan, China, etc. However, in Japan, people often call it “Donald McDonald” instead of the leading “R”. They have found it difficult to pronounce correctly.

The company also spends a lot of time promoting its icon parallel with technology development.

For example, in 1970, Charle Comic published a comic book related to this character and sold it until 1971. After that, the company launched several giveaways, using it as a protagonist for many years.

Its mascot also appeared in many animations shown in 1987, 1990, and 1998 – 2003. They ranged in length from 8-minute and 40-minute films to a series of episodes aired worldwide.

Before that, the company also released a movie and a game series in 1988. Then, many other games with this clown as the main character released in 1993 and 1994 came from various game studios.

Was Ronald Mcdonald Going To Be A Clown?

No, McDonald’s tried to change it with many different images in the early days, such as an astronaut or cowboy. It was a time when America was investing in space and space exploration. And these changes are intended to encourage and demonstrate the company’s innovation.

Later, they just changed the clown’s costume to resemble the above images instead of using the company’s signature dishes to decorate.

Will Ronald Mcdonald Ever Make A Return?

Yes. McDonald’s has had to limit its clown promotions since 2016 temporarily. Public criticism of its ill health effects and widespread tendency to falsify it in a negative way.

However, it has gradually regained balance and reappeared on social media. It remains the sole face of this company. Even so, this character has not been able to return to its previous heyday, when it covered most of the media and appeared in games, movies, comic books, etc.


It can be said that, compared to the past, this mascot is not as famous. Its disappearance over a long period is due to criticism of its negative impact on childhood obesity. Besides, its image has been used by many people for criminal purposes.

Today, the fast-food chain still uses it in its media and promotional campaigns. Therefore, you can hope for the return of this clown one day.

If you would like to know more about McDonald’s, you can also read our related articles on:

* Disclaimer: We do not buy, sell or provide service, we only share with you our trusted sources, and experience. In case of any changes in the products or services of the companies, all the information below is supposed to change at any time.

Phillip Adcock is the founder and Managing Director of the research agency Shopping Behaviour Xplained (SBXL), a shopping research organization using psychological consumer insight to explain and help consumers answer their questions about stores and services.

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