Editors' pick: Originally published Oct. 11.
McDonald's (MCD) - Get Report has banished its iconic marketing clown Ronald McDonald to the basement amid an outbreak of equally creepy clowns across the U.S.. But that shouldn't really that prove a big deal to sales.
The Golden Arches said Tuesday it is being "thoughtful in respect to Ronald McDonald's participation in community events" as a result of the "current climate around clown sightings in communities." McDonald's decision comes in light of a plethora of pranks and threats nationwide (see Instagram video below) and overseas that have involved people dressed up as scary clowns.
In short, who really cares if Ronald formally disappears? It's not like McDonald's has done much to use the character made famous by Willard Scott in its TV or social media marketing lately following a major overhaul several years ago.
Ronald McDonald was re-launched in April 2014 to include a designer-inspired clothing makeover. The company then quietly aired a TV commercial featuring Ronald in the U.S. on Oct. 30, 2014. Ronald hasn't been seen on U.S. airwaves since, with McDonald's instead choosing to highlight visuals of its enhanced quality for things like Egg McMuffins and Chicken McNuggets.
Meanwhile, Ronald McDonald's Instagram account launched in early October 2014 with a short video of his white-faced self enjoying a beach vacation. The account launched with a description of Ronald as a "world traveler," "smile seeker" and "clown," and has posted only 264 times (including multiple selfies) and amassed 32,000 followers.
But there have been no posts on the Instagram accounts over the past nine weeks, which happens to coincide with an intensification of the creepy clown outbreaks globally. Further, McDonald's scrubbed the word "clown" from Ronald's Instagram biography.
McDonald's didn't immediately respond to request for comment on Ronald's Instagram account.