In an effort to promote healthier eating among children, McDonald’s has introduced a new mascot for its Happy Meal.
Called Happy, the fast food giant says it “brings fun and excitement to kids’ meals while serving as an ambassador for balanced and wholesome eating.”
Happy will try to encourage better food choices not commonly associated with McDonald’s, including fresh fruits, vegetables and low-sugar beverage options like milk and water.
But its red, box-like figure, with large white teeth and bulging eyes has been turning some people off since making its U.S. debut on Twitter Monday.
— KPIC (@CountCaleb) May 20, 2014
Users commented on everything from his "disturbing" features to his uncanny resemblance to actor Gary Busey.
.@McDonalds might want to go back to the drawing board, I think I'm going to have nightmares.
— #FiveSeasons&AFamily (@applextree) May 19, 2014
Happy was first introduced to France in 2009, then later Latin America. The mascot will officially be introduced nationwide on May 23.
— McDonald's (@McDonalds) May 19, 2014
In addition to Happy, McDonald's announced plans to add Go-Gurt Low-Fat Strawberry Yogurt as an option in its Happy Meals. Starting July 4, the chain will offer a 50-calorie version of the yogurt made specifically for McDonald's by General Mills with 25 percent less sugar than the conventional Go-Gurt.
Later this year, McDonald’s restaurants in the U.S. will begin promoting only milk, juice or water as a beverage choice to children on menu boards and in advertising, according a recent press release.