McDonald’s Orders a Ronald Comeback

Despite rumors of his retirement, Ronald McDonald is making a return to TV in a series of new commercials.

Ronald’s return to the forefront of McDonald’s kid-focused promotions signals a continued belief in the strength of the character.   But is Ronald still relevant to an increasingly cynical youth?  Is the antagonism toward Ronald symptomatic of broader parental dislike?

The Happy? Meal

Ronald McDonald Appeal among Parents, Kids 2-12.Using our 3 varieties of E-Score Character, Kids and Tots we looked at how people ages 2-5, 6-12 and Parents of kids under 18, view Ronald McDonald.  Appeal peaks for kids 2-5 with a top two box score of 61%, declining to 42% for kids 6-12 and sinking to 24% for Parents of kids <18 – the only group for whom appeal is noticeably below average.  Parents do, however, consider Ronald to be above average on the attributes Approachable, Believable and Influential.

Source:  E-Score Brand Filtered by Parents of Kids <18

While parents are less than enamored of the Ronald character, these attitudes do not appear to carry over to their perception of the McDonald’s brand as a whole. Using E-Score Brand, we see that top-two box appeal for the McDonald’s brand among parents of kids under 18 is at 63%, ten points above the category average, and shows a generally stable long-term trend.  Use of the Ronald McDonald character does not appear to be harming the brand, and carries sizeable equity with younger clientele.

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