McDonald's Suffers Social Media Mockery

Steve Peterson Marketing Director, Pinnacle Displays

Posted on May 21st 2014

McDonald's Suffers Social Media Mockery

social media failThe social media crowd can be a tough crowd, as McDonald's is painfully learning. McDonald's just introduced a new mascot for their Happy Meal, aptly named Happy.  Here's what McDonalds says about their new mascot, Happy...

OAK BROOK, Ill. (May 19, 2014) – McDonald’s USA is offering guests new reasons to feel good about the fun and the food at McDonald’s with the addition of a new yogurt side option for kids and a Happy Meal brand ambassador. McDonald’s today introduced “Happy,” 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.

Unfortunately, a significant number of the initial responses on social media are to mock Mr Happy, suggesting a better name might be Mr Creepy. Here's one of the first tweets about Mr Happy...

And here's another tweet mocking Mr Happy, but also promoting another topic McDonald's would surely like to avoid: that McDonald's fast food is unhealthy (for the record, I think there's nothing wrong with eating Micky Dee's, in moderation of course)...

So did McDonald's blow it? According to McDonald's, Happy has been successfully promoting Happy Meals in France since 2009. But apparently Americans are a different bunch. Well, at least some American adults, who probably shouldn't be eating kid's Happy Meals in the first place. I asked my two kids, 10 and 12 years old, who like eating at McDonald's (when we let them) what they thought of Mr. Happy, and they thought he was cute. Granted, my two kids are a pretty small sample size, but I'm going to guess that the vast majority of kids, who are the target market for Happy Meals, have no problem with Mr Happy. Unfortunately, McDonald's probably didn't anticipate few slightly older unhappy folks out there who are more than happy to mock and criticize on social media. I'm not sure McDonald's could have predicted this, but now they should make sure these unhappy tweeters never get another Happy Meal... To paraphrase Seinfeld's Soup Nazi, "No Happy Meal for You!"

Ah, the social media crowd can be a tough one...


Steve Peterson

Marketing Director, Pinnacle Displays

Steve Peterson is the marketing director for Pinnacle Displays, and also contributes at the Institute for Trade Show Marketing Excellence.

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Brian Hughes
Posted on May 21st 2014 at 6:14PM

Great post Steve, I first saw Mr. Happy last night while watching the Arsenio hall show when he made fun of McDonald's new mascot. He said that it looked like a cross between a red M&M and gary Busey. I laughed histerically! I even had to tweet it...


Posted on May 21st 2014 at 6:40PM


Thanks for the comment. I've got to admit that Arsenio's joke is hillarious. Gary Busey has a great new TV commercial out where he talks to things and screams at the TV. Busey is a "unique" individual. I can totally see him in Mr Happy. I remember Busey from the movie Point Break, a favorite of mine... maybe I need to rent it again.

Brian Hughes
Posted on May 21st 2014 at 7:04PM


You're welcome. Glad you liked it. Yes, I've seen that commercial...he has definitely become very odd over the years. I've been a fan as well. He was great in Point Break! He's been in some great action films, Lethal Weapon, Bulletproof, Predator 2, Under Siege and Drop Zone. Netflix time!

Charlene Ecko
Posted on May 22nd 2014 at 10:07AM

We may not like the mascot, but people forget that some PERSON made that little guy. People are a little too quick with the abject hate. 

I hope the creator of Happy never sees these vicious comments.