New McDonald's Happy Meal Mascot Deemed Terrifying on Social Media


 ((Editor's note: The above child was likely photographed mid-bite, but it's not a stretch to assume that she froze in fear after seeing the new McDonald's mascot.) Image courtesy of Reuters)

To a child, McDonald's is famous for three things: Happy Meals, PlayPlaces and friendly, lovable mascots. Nowadays, though, McDonald's seems intent on pushing the limits of that last one.

This past Monday, McDonald's unveiled their newest mascot Happy, an anthropomorphic Happy Meal that the company sees as bringing "fun and excitement to kids’ meals while also serving as an ambassador for balanced and wholesome eating." Now have a look at Happy below, and notice how they conspicuously neglected to mention his shifty eyes, jelly arms and cavernous mouthful of teeth:

Say hello to our newest friend, Happy! #HappyMeal

— McDonald's (@McDonalds) May 19, 2014

Naturally, Twitter's response to Happy has been less than warm, with dozens of users commenting on his off-putting appearance. Here's just a few of their thoughts:

@McDonalds WHy is he in pain

— spot (@spo_ky) May 19, 2014

@jitka @McDonalds a McStake

— damn fine hat (@BromanConsul) May 19, 2014

@McDonalds @sevendeadlywins oh god who thought this was a good idea

— sparkly shark (@sharked_up) May 19, 2014

@Naive_Steve @McDonalds the teeth make it even creepier.

— #FiveSeasons&AFamily (@applextree) May 19, 2014

This recent backlash actually prompted McDonald's to issue a response in which they explain how Happy was originally introduced five years ago, much to the delight of their international customers:

Since 2009, as a global McDonald’s character, Happy has been loved and well-received by children and families in Latin America and Europe. Happy is all about encouraging wholesome food choices, like fruit, veggies, and low-fat dairy, and does so in a fun, positive, creative way. Social media is a great place to have a conversation and express an opinion, but not all comments reflect the broader view.

Despite what McDonald's says, however, Twitter users are pretty sure Happy should stay away from the American market, as they'd rather not be subjected to his bug-eyed gaze every time they want a McChicken.

What do you think of Happy?