McDonald’s Pulls Ronald In Light Of Murderous Clown Trend

Photo: Flickr via sfxeric

Horror movie writers don’t seem to have to do any work anymore, do they?

After multiple reports have come in of clowns attempting to lure children into the woods of South Carolina, as well as unconfirmed reports of sightings in other states and a stabbing that may have been clown-related, McDonald’s is temporarily pulling their clown mascot, Ronald, from any public appearances.

In a public statement, the franchise said they wished to be “thoughtful in respect to Ronald McDonald’s participation in community events” thanks to the “current climate around clown sightings in communities.”

While much of the clown craze is likely the product of media hysteria and heresy, the facts stand that in addition to the possible stabbing, several arrests have been made, both of people making false reports and people dressing as creepy clowns and scaring their fellow civilians.

No word on how long Ronald will be on hiatus from his busy press schedule.

McDonald’s Launches Contest Where Winners Become Walking Billboards

No one could accuse McDonald’s of subtlety. I’m pretty sure the golden arches are the first bit of human symbology (thanks,The Da Vinci Code) whose meaning I consciously recognized: the big yellow ‘M’ = French fries. So it should go without saying that when you win a McDonald’s promotional sweepstakes, you’ve only “won” in the most technical sense.

The ultimate in “for a limited time only” fast foods, The McRib, is at the center of this newest indignity. Knowing full well that millions of Americans are addicted to this elusive mystery meat—as well as the eternal hunt for it—they’ve offered up, in exchange for a New York Tri-State Area McDonald’s check-in on Foursquare and use of Twitter hashtag #MyMcRib, a so-called “McRib Survival Kit”:

·      1 “I’m a McRib Lover” Dr. Pepper T-Shirt

·      1 McRib Button

·      1 “I Love Ribs” disposable plastic bib

·      1 McDonald’s Fries Sticker

·      1 Dr. Pepper NonWoven Tote

·      2 Wet Ones Singles Antibacterial Cleansing Wipes

·      2 coupons for a complimentary McRib (only good at participating McDonalds in the New York Tri-State area)

Breathtaking, no? Just do some street-team social networking for the company and you get a coupon for your next high-calorie fix, feeble nods to personal hygiene, and everything else is advertorial crap you can put on your body somehow! The free ride’s over, fat people: you all have to dress like NASCAR drivers now.

McDonald’s UK Employees Don ‘Mad Men’-Inspired Uniforms

Just as nothing says "I’m going to watch Michael Phelps swim in an intense, lengthy and extremely taxing international competition"  quite like some McNuggets and a Coke, nothing says "the Olympics," "Team Great Britain" or "McDonald’s" quite like dressing like someone’s odd interpretation of 1960s ad execs. And yet, here we are. 

McDonald’s has always been a regular fixture at the Olympic Villages all over this planet. And just as Danny Boyle and Stephen Daldry are preparing their grand-scale "Isles of Wonder" ceremonies with real livestock and real rain and music by Underworld, so is the Olympic Village in London preparing to go big with its Big Mac purveyors by opening the World’s Largest McDonald’s. And with the occasion, in an attempt to make Maccies work uniforms more fashionable, the team brought on Red Or Dead’s Wayne Hemingway, who was inspired by the classic polos of Fred Perry. 1960s mods and the classic dapper adman looks of Mad Men. Well, alright then. 

Hemingway replaced the drab browns associated with the classic fast-food chain uniform with Perry-style polos in "mustard yellow" and "gherkin green," with the actual ’60s influence coming in with the customer-care and managerial getup: a distinctive checked pattern, pencil skirts or dark green trousers, skinny ties and for female employees, a mustard-yellow scarf. Not sure how "Mad Men" it all is, but the outfits do recal some young freelancer who Roger fired during an acid flashback, or something. 

Watch the Telegraph‘s report about the new uniforms. Not pictured, Don Draper solemnly shaking his head and drinking all the scotch.

Germans Deem New York Nothing More Than a Land of Cupcakes

This is totally Sex and the City‘s fault. Sarah Jessica Parker, Magnolia Cupcakes, we blame you. McDonald’s in Germany are now offering a series of cupcakes named after New York City neighborhoods — Central Park, Soho, Chelsea, and East Village. Because, really now, what is New York now but a series of cutesy cupcake shops?

The East Village cupcake is cappuccino-flavored because, according to German McDonald’s, “Here come from the most famous artists in New York” and also something about Andy Warhol that doesn’t quite translate. A dude in a floppy hat and corduroy pants stands alongside the E.V. cupcake on the German website.

Chelsea is chocolate because it “was once terribly hip, sometimes not, and then again.” It’s paired with a dude in baggy jeans and a rumpled button-down. So un-Chelsea. McD’s, get that guy in some G-Stars.

Soho gets stuck with a vanilla cupcake and a chick who looks like a cute nurse because the only reason to go to Soho and throw some elbows on the sidewalks is Uniqlo.

Central Park gets a strawberry cupcake and a cool chick in jeggings and a vest whose style is more downtown than uptown. German McDonald’s explains that Central Park is where “all of New York hangs out.” Who knew?

McItaly Burger Creates McControversy

Traveling to Italy has always been about the food (and other things too, but really the food), and now, there’s an exciting new dish showcasing the best of the country’s culinary traditions: the McItaly burger. The new McDonald’s creation features a beef patty, Asiago cheese, and artichoke spread–how Italian! It even comes wrapped in an Italian flag wrapper. The Italian government has endorsed the burger, while citizens are crying foul and making enraged hand gestures.

One critic called the burger a “monstrous act of national betrayal.” Meanwhile, the Italian agricultural minister, Luca Zaia, is touring the country’s McD’s in support of the burger, which is made with all Italian ingredients. Zaia says “Not everyone has the privilege or the time to eat at 5-star restaurants, young people are choosing this healthy fast food.” Oh! It’s healthy too! Wow, a healthy McDonald’s burger, now that–not the McItaly–would be a novelty.

Eating Fast Food to Lose Weight Is a Great Idea: Psych!

“Can fast food help you lose weight?” This incredibly valid question comes care of The New York Times and its recent report on the latest phenomenal diet trend: treating fast food like a weight loss plan. Confused? Of course you are. You don’t know anything about diets! Basically, fast food companies have started offering and advertising low-calorie menus as legitimate diet plans. The standout example is Taco Bell’s “Drive-Thru Diet” ad campaign for its Fresco menu, but everyone from Dunkin’ Donuts to Quiznos to McDonald’s is serving up supposedly healthy fast food fare these days. It’s pretty revolutionary stuff, so what sort of people did the Times interview for its fast food diets piece? The smartest people of all.

(‘DiggThis’)For example, 27-year-old Christine Dougherty from Pensacola FL, who commented on her commitment to dieting: “I don’t like to cook, and I wanted to be realistic without changing my lifestyle too much.” Great attitude, Christine! Per the Times report, probable-nobel-laureate Christine lost 54 pounds over two years while eating at the Taco Bell Fresco menu five to eight times a week. Don’t worry about sodium intake!

The Times also interviewed brilliant doctor (and likely rocket scientist) Peter Pressman, who said obviously true things about fast food and health: “Fast food in and of itself is not at all necessarily a problem or insult for developmentally mature or healthy adults…If the caloric input — regardless of composition — is not excessive, there’s no inherent physiologic evil.” Wow honest Abe, you don’t have to tell the truth all the time!

Still, some utter morons have complained that fast food companies are being disingenuous in their attempt to push fast food as legitimately healthy. Enter woman-with-highest-IQ-in-the-world Dr. Kelly Brownell: “I don’t think [fast food companies] are committing nutrition fraud.” I mean, duh. Fast food companies are just trying to help us lose weight. The KFC Double Down Sandwich is scientifically designed to make those pounds fall off. Stop dropping truth bombs, Kelly!

But, if you do have any remaining reservations about eating fast food to lose weight, just listen to the story of cybernetically-enhanced-super-genius Wendy Wimmer, who lost 12 pounds on a diet plan that included fast food items: “Thankfully I am blessed with crazily low cholesterol so I didn’t worry about [high blood pressure] too much. However, I’m sure that my sodium intake was through the roof…[I did feel] sludgy and gross all the time.” You the man now, Wendy. Sludgy and gross all the time? Sign me up!

McDonalds McSucks My McAss: Litigation Against Charity

Yet another reason to support the restaurants within the vicinity of you that actually cook real food, as opposed to the flash-frozen, chemically engineered, violently produced, nutritional poison that is the cancer they wrap up and serve to you at McDonalds: they are a corporate entity that hates kids, and they hate the charities of kids, and they make the charities of kids they think are infringing on their trademark spend thousands of dollars defending themselves. True story.

(‘DiggThis’)Lauren McClusky–who, take notice, has a first name beginning with “Mc”–has done fundraisers/charity concerts with her last name serving as the inspiration for titling them: “McFest.” The charity shows have raised tens of thousands of dollars for the Special Olympics, which generally benefit kids way less advantaged than you are. As in, you’re not retarded. So imagine McClusky’s shock when she went to protect the name of her event only to have McDonalds try to sue the McMoney out of her (and the Special Olymnpians). And then when they wouldn’t relent:

To date, it’s cost her roughly $5,000 — money she wishes had gone to Special Olympics kids instead of attorneys

…McClusky hopes for a truce that will allow her to keep the McFest name. Still, she’s unwilling to make a corporate sponsorship tradeoff along the lines of “McDonald’s Presents McFest.” For their part, McDonald’s representatives maintained that they have no desire to squash McClusky’s charitable efforts, and desire an “amicable resolution…However, the law requires us to guard against third parties that infringe our trademarks and to take the necessary action to stop those infringements,” said McDonald’s spokeperson Ashlee Yingling. “We believe the mark at issue, ‘McFest,’ is similar enough to our brand name and McDonald’s famous family of ‘Mc’ trademarks that it’s likely to cause confusion under trademark standards and/or dilute our valuable trademark rights.”

McDonalds refused to say anything else, well knowing that (A) It didn’t matter because (B) they’re an enormous, awful, multinational corporation who only brings bad things to the world, like the Arch Deluxe, and hating Special Olympians, and (C) because what good has come from a major international food conglomerate? Ever. Serious. It’s all going to be the same, soon. Even the New York Times is sick of this bullshit, penning an editorial this weekend they titled “Big Food“:

At the end of 2008, 10 companies accounted for two-thirds of the world’s beer sales, up from 40 percent in 2000.

Think about the way food corporations exist and if, seriously, they have done anything really great for you as a consumer, for as long and as hard as you can. Whatever answer you could possibly produce could be counteracted with a quick look at health statistics around the world, the production means that get these companies’ food to you, or the alternatives that you have available to you. Don’t eat at McDonalds. Don’t buy from Kraft. Don’t drink Heineken. They are machines and they all hate you.

That’s L’McDonald’s To You

McDonald’s is trading up, at least in the New York neighborhood of Chelsea. The old cartoonish red and yellow, Ronald McDonald themed, OG fast food joint now looks like a stand in for DWR, with outlets for laptops, upholstered vinyl chairs instead of Fiberglas seats bolted to the floor and mood lighting. MickyD’s in Chelsea is outfitted with Danish modern furniture, flat-screen TV’s and free WiFi. Even the employee uniform has gotten an upgrade, to all black.

Many of the McDonald’s in France and the UK have already undergone the transformation from drab to fab. “It’s like a lounge,” said Kimberly Burgess, a patron of the revamped Chelsea McDonald’s, “It’s so different from all the other McDonald’s. It’s beautiful.” McDonald’s Corp. spokeswoman Danya Proud said the redesign was intended “to give our customers more of a reason to make McDonald’s a destination.” That, or the powers that be are finally realizing that McDonald’s needs to get with it in terms of design aesthetics if it wants to compete in the a post-iPod world. They’re not the only ones: cross-town rival Burger King has big plans to upgrade its 12,000 locations with industrial-inspired corrugated metal and brick walls. You hear that, Taco Bell? You’d better get busy.

Fearing Financial Freefall, French Feast on Freedom Fries

imageThe French culinary arts scene has just been downgraded. Consumer confidence has plummeted, prices are rising, and the French have been giving up lunching on confit de canard at the corner bistro for grabbing a quick burger and fries at McDonald’s. According to Bloomberg, citing a Paris-based stats office, traditional bistros are hurting with about 3,000 French restaurants filing for bankruptcy in the first half of 2008 — up 27% from the same time last year. Meanwhile, the French have been flooding the Golden Arches and fattening up on McSnacks. The chain expects French revenue to increase 12%, causing low-level outrage over the sudden popularity of malbouffe, or junk food. “A hamburger patty and fries in a bistro around the corner from my office costs almost twice as much,” said Alexandre Cavanel, who was munching on a double cheeseburger in a Paris McDonald’s.

“Fewer people eat in restaurants now, and when they do come they don’t order like before,” said Clara Vega, a manager of La Cote d’Azur cafe in Paris. “They used to order an appetizer and a meat dish with a glass of wine for lunch. Now they buy a crocque and wash it down with a carafe of tap water.” Logically, added one economist, people are switching from restaurants to fast food. Meanwhile, France has proved to be the biggest earner for McDonald’s outside of the US, accounting for 13% of total sales. The company now plans to open 29 new restaurants in France this year. Enjoy your royale with cheese, froggies.