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The Yau Law Firm
Focused on Protecting Businesses and Representing the Injured

McDonald’s: Changing Image with Changing Times

You may notice that commercials for McDonald’s no longer feature Ronald McDonald. Is the 48 year-old clown being phased out?  It has been reported recently that the world’s leading fast-food restaurant chain is shifting to a more mature brand in order to target more sophisticated consumers.  Why companies like McDonald’s rebrand is an inquiry that requires the consideration of many factors.

This rebranding involves emphasis on healthy food and gourmet coffee items and less focus on Happy Meals and high caloric burgers and fries.

A possible reason for this rebranding is health awareness.  A high rate of obesity throughout the nation has caused consumers to demand menus lower in calories and fat.  Many of the restaurant’s new products cater to this trend.  Ronald McDonald, however, is more closely associated with the past and with fattening cuisine such as burgers and fries.

Another possible reason for the shift is legal liability.  There is at least one class action lawsuit against McDonald’s.  The Center for Science in the Public Interest initiated the suit in a California state court, claiming the restaurant “baits, exploits, and harms children by offering toys with its kid’s meals.”  Perhaps marketing executives at McDonald’s decided to shift the focus to an older demographic in order preempt similar legal actions elsewhere.

Finally, the appeal to mature consumers has aided McDonald’s in promoting the McCafe brand.  Unveiled in 2009, McCafe products include specialty and iced coffees, which have greatly increased revenue over the past years.  In addition to growing the company, the McCafe brand is responsible for growth in the national consumption of specialty coffee products.

Although no longer appearing in commercials, Ronald McDonald is still important.  The mascot now acts as a spokesperson for community education programs and charitable foundations.

For more information regarding trademarks, contact a qualified intellectual property attorney today.

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