McDonalds is creating quite a buzz with its new Happy Meal mascot - Happy - but not in the manner the company would have liked.
On Monday, May 19, McDonald's has revealed Happy in a bid to promote a healthier line of Happy Meals for children. The mascot is set to be introduced in the U.S. from May 23 to "encourage kids to enjoy fruits, vegetables, low-fat dairy and wholesome beverages such as water or juice."
For the uninitiated, the animated Happy Meal box aka Happy was initially introduced by McDonald's in France in 2009. Since then, the character has made its way to other parts of Europe and Latin America and will now finally arrive in the U.S.
Along with Happy, McDonald's also has announced the addition of the Go-GURT low-fat strawberry yogurt, which the company claims has 25 percent less sugar when compared to other yogurts for kids and just 50 calories.
Starting July 4, Go-Gurt will be available for those looking for a substitute to French Fries or apple slices in Happy Meals.
"At McDonald's, we're always looking to bring fun and happiness to families and listening to our customers' asks to have more variety and wholesome options for kids to enjoy in their Happy Meals," said Julie Wenger, senior director of U.S. marketing, McDonald's. "Together, Happy and Go-GURT Low-Fat Strawberry Yogurt give kids and parents something to look forward to during their next trip to McDonald's."
However, since McDonald's "newest friend" Happy made its online debut, the box-shaped character with rubbery arms and a toothy grin has managed to elicit a not-so-positive response from social media users.
Twitter users have expressed their displeasure with some even labeling the mascot "scary."
"Hamburgler is rolling over in his grave right now: creepy MT," posts a Twitter user.
"The new #HappyMeal mascot looks like bad 90's clip art AND IS ALSO TERRIFYING," says another Twitter user.
Happy even drew flak on McDonald's Facebook page where a video featuring the mascot was posted. The mascot was ridiculed with uses passing comments like "Epic fail," "I regret watching this" and "This makes me crave Burger King." The content seems to have been removed as of writing.
The adverse reaction to Happy could be a setback for McDonald's, especially since the company is promoting it as bringing "fun and excitement to kids' meals while also serving as an ambassador for balanced and wholesome eating."