'A couple of days ago, my 10-year-old daughter came home from school in tears because some of the older girls had been talking about the worldwide wave of creepy clown sightings.
While the sightings are urban legends in the making, McDonald's is taking them seriously enough to curtail appearances of their orange-haired bozo. Which raises an interesting question: why does McDonald's cling to this weird mascot?
My daughter aside, I don't know anybody who thinks clowns are funny. I suspect the last person who laughed at a clown probably died in the 1980s. Quite the contrary. Everyone I know thinks that clowns are creepy.
Even Ronald has been pretty creepy since his very first commercial:
Here's the thing. Clowns date from a time when entertainment consisted of pratfalls, squirt boutonnieres, and hitting people with rubber chickens. Heck, even Cirque de Soliel uses clowns mostly to raise hackles.
Now, there's no denying that McDonald's marketers aren't exactly geniuses. Over the past couple of years, they've revamped the Hamburgler into a weird-looking yuppie dude and floated the truly vomitable tag line "Lovin' Beats Hatin'." Ugh.
However, how much marketing genius does it take to realize that clown nostalgia isn't going to get people to buy more fast food? So, since McDonald's is cutting back on clown appearances anyway, why not just #dumptheclown for good?