Friday, May 30, 2003

If you click here within the next few hours, you can download a PDF of the front page of Thursday's Wall Street Journal. There's a really good article on Ronald McDonald on the front page. Apparently McDonald's is "beefing up" the role of the 40-year-old clown. You have to be a subscriber to read the whole thing online, but here are a few key graphs:

The careful choreography of this clown's every step shows the McDonald's machine in high gear. No detail is too small. In 1999, McDonald's ad agency Leo Burnett hired a Los Angles stylist to refashion Ronald's wavy red hair, and it spent months studying whether to increase the width of the red stripes on his socks.

So protective of McDonald's of the character's mystique that men who play Ronald are never to admit that they do. Ronalds in costume aren't to say who they are in civilian life. That rather annoyed Craig A. Oatten, a police chief in Michigan, when a Ronald, in full red-and-yellow regalia, got into a fender bender near Saginaw a few years ago. Asked several times, the Ronald steadfastly refused to give his name for the police report.

"If we get someone who refuses to identify themselves, we'll take them to the local jail," says Chief Oatten. But, because there were no injuries involved, he spared the clown a trip downtown.
The PDF is worth looking at mainly because they have have one of those traditional WSJ black-and-white sketched mugs of Ronald McDonald. Oh yeah: Eating meat is bad. Don't eat meat.


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