You wouldn’t create Ronald today.
He’s not ironic.
They try to make him that way, but they fail. And I hereby declare without fear of contradiction that there are two basic communication modes today: surprisingly honest, or ironic.
The health advocates who are attacking Ronald and asking McD’s to dump him surely know that it’s a hopeless request, between the usefulness of owning an icon almost everybody can identify and the good works he actually does (a Ronald McDonald House has been a godsend to many desperate families over the years).
But BK made the King an ironic response to Ronald pretty successfully for awhile there.
McDonald’s does have an allure for kids. My belief is it has more to do with the recognizable colors, the shape of the arches and a sense of forbidden-fruit / indulgence / parental hesitance. Kids recognize this stuff early. (There’s a whole post to be made out of what makes kids interested in McDonald’s over other fast food—but I will bet it has very little to do with Ronald.)
So it’s fine, health advocates, to ask for Ronald’s resignation. But it’s symbolic, right? The kids are going whether the wigged one is goofin’ at them or not.
Those grapes and apples and cartons of skim milk you got McDonald’s to offer are better than getting rid of the clown.