Skip to comments.Ronald McDonald gets a makeover (He's a she)
Posted on 09/23/2005 5:03:24 AM PDT by cloud8
She's sexy, she's stylish, she's sophisticated - and somewhat surprisingly, she's Ronald McDonald.
A gender-bending makeover of McDonald's marketing icon in Japan has been hailed a great success after capturing the public imagination and enticing adults back into its outlets to sample a revamped menu.
Traditionally, Ronald McDonald would goof about in oversized shoes and baggy yellow overalls in a frantic and successful pursuit of Hamburgler.
In the Japanese TV commercial the foxy female version, with shoulder-length straight auburn hair in place of Ronald's frizzy mop, smoulders at the camera in a flowing yellow dress, and later a red and white striped bikini with thigh-length leggings and red high heels.
But the man behind the campaign insists he did not create a female Ronald McDonald - but merely appropriated his instantly recognisable outfit.
Hidekazu Sato, known by his nickname Kazoo, the associate creative director at Beacon Communications - a joint venture of Leo Burnett and Dentsu - said the costume was so recognisable it was a mnemonic - a design that people would instantly associate with McDonald's.
"We devised the costume and took the red and white stripes and the yellow, which were recognised and converted them into a stylish dress," Kazoo said via a translator.
"We were assuming that even if we didn't include the McDonald's logo and even if the model was a beautiful caucasian just those colours of the mnemonic design would wake up people's association with McDonald's."
"The important point is we didn't change Ronald himself - we played around with his costume."
"The customers are calling her the female Ronald but that was not our intention," Kazoo said.
It is not the first time that the fast-food outlet - which has fended off attacks from obesity campaigners in recent years - has played fast and loose with its image.
In Britain the company, faced with falling sales, abandoned the famous golden arches logo and replaced it with a question mark in a poster campaign to get consumers to reconsider its fast food outlet image.
But the chain is still protective of its reputation. McDonald's Japan refused MediaGuardian.co.uk permission to show the full TV advert.
The Japanese adverts, which promoted the new McGrand burger, first appeared last year and had a big impact on popular culture, particularly the culture of costume play, known as "cospre".
"In its favour was the strong Japanese culture of costume play, an underground scene of adults dressing up as cartoon characters," said Kazoo.
"The commercial was popular and in particular the costume. When I go to other shoots I sense that people in the fashion industry ask who created it and who the stylist was, so it is talked about."
The advert even led to Japanese pop singer Namie Amuro approaching Beacon Communications to revamp her image after she saw it.
But despite the successful attempt to reach out to adults, the TV commercial found favour with a very familiar audience.
"It was rated number one likeable among high school girls, a wonderful surprise. We were able to capture the young group as well as capture a more aspirational image for McDonald's."
Where's the bikini?
I just hope she speaks English. That is what I want with any McDonalds.
The Cheshire Cat grin on the Hamburgler's face makes sense now.
Don't you mean McBikini?
No longer satisfied just to be The Fifth Element, Leeloo gets a new gig.
Sometimes I can't help but wonder how the Japanese ended up so darn weird..
Bun and "special sauce" jokes to follow.
Does anyone know the name of the first Ronals McDonald? I'll give you a hint, he is still seen on morning TV news shows and is very heavy set, or was at one time.
Willard Scott when he had his WMAL gig. I worked at a DC area Mc-Ds during the paper hat and barbershirt days. (don't ask how long ago that was!)
Where's the beef?
So long as the Hamburglar doesn't grow tentacles..
Brought to you by the same folks that cover a nekkid chick with sushi and eat it. Fries might leave a mark, tho'.
Coming to you by the same ad agency that sponsored "NEW COCA COLA". Remember that dud?
So your intention was Ronald in drag?
No thanks. I'll stick to In & Out Burger.
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