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Bad Ronald and Other Misguided Mascots

ronald-mcdonald-5As the creeping clownapocalypse continues to lurch forward with more and more unexplained sightings of red-nosed madmen terrorizing small communities, the bizarre phenomena has claimed yet another victim: Ronald McDonald.

It was announced earlier in the week that the hamburger conglomerate will cut down on the appearances of their longstanding mascot due to the recent clown scare.

(Can I please note that the last few sentence contain a few phrases I thought I would never ever type? Seriously. 2015 Me would never believe the shit 2016 Me has to endure.)

Ronald isn’t the first advertising mascot casualty to bite the bullet. He is just the most recent in a long line of comical characters who have, for one reason or another, been retired (or completely covered up) due to events at the time, or changing attitudes. And in a few cases, horrific racism.

Here is a quick look back at a few of the forgotten, fallen ad buddies of yesteryear:


The Frito Bandito


Created by Tex Avery and voiced by Mel Blanc for the Foote, Cone & Belding Agency, the Frito Bandito wanted nothing but to enjoy life. Sure, that meant robbing people of their Frito Corn Chips while wearing an oversized sombrero, but hey, to each their own.

In the ‘70s, National Mexican-American Anti-Defamation Committee campaigned against the characters and by 1971, the cartoon mascot was officially retired.




Back in the ‘50s, restauranteers Sam Battistone and Newell Bohnett launched an eatery that capitalized on the popularity on the book Little Black Sambo. (For those who don’t know what that is, basically it was a popular kids’ tale that was HUGELY politically incorrect even by old timey standards, which is really, really, really hard to do.) At the center as Sambo himself, a little boy of dark complexion.

Regardless, the restaurant went on to become super popular and by the ‘70s, it had over 1,000 locations and no longer capitalized on the story all that much except for a few tiger references.

But by the ‘80s, there was finally backlash over how awful the whole concept was. And the fact that the term Sambo itself is racist slang. But despite a name and decor change, the chain failed and filed for bankruptcy.


Cherry Chan/Cherry Clans


Lemonheads are still around, but Cherry Chans and Cherry Clans are a thing of the past. The cousins of the Lemonheads featured the sour cherry candy with a Charlie Chan-esque character on the box.

This wasn’t new. The Ferrar Pan company launched this marketing technique in the ‘40s with similar characters such as Alexander the Grape and Johnny Apple Seed.

Later on, when the company was threatened with a lawsuit for copyright infringement, the candy company switched to the infinitely worse Cherry Clan, which featuring cherries with squinty eyes and flat hats. And this stuck around until the ‘80s, kids.

Now they are called Cherryheads. Much, much better.


Funny Face Drink Mix


Pillsbury didn’t used to be only about a pudgy little doughboy who enjoyed a little light BDSM. They have a whole host of other products too! And in the ‘60s, they had Funny Face Drink Fix, which aimed to give Kool-Aid a run for its money by offering adorable little characters like Goofy Grape, Loud-Mouth Lime…and Chinese Cherry…and Injun Orange.

Needless to say, Injun Orange soon became Jolly Olly Orange, Chinese Cherry became Choo-Choo Cherry, and Pillsbury stuck to bread products.


The King of Burger King


While there was no official hysteria or issue with the King per se, he was just plain creepy.

In 2003, the King got a makeover that only made him slightly creepier by giving him a permanent mask only a serial killer could love.


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