As clowns' careers go, Ronald McDonald has had a pretty good run -- he's been the face of McDonald's (MCD) for 48 years. But as fans of the jester may have noticed, he hasn't been featured much lately in the company's advertisements.

There's a reason for that. Facing increased competition from more upscale chains, such as Starbucks (SBUX), McDonald's today is more focused on selling profitable coffee drinks and salads rather than Big Macs and kids' Happy Meals, reports Bloomberg News.

The company is also revamping its restaurants, adding padded seating and free WiFi to lure more diners. All that nouvelle sophistication leaves little room for a buffoon in a bright yellow suit and ridiculously large red shoes.

"We haven't been seeing a lot of Ronald McDonald," Tim Calkins, a marketing professor at Northwestern University, told the news agency. "They're beginning to appeal to much more sophisticated individuals."

And that's Ronald's problem. Consumers link him to the old, high-fat foods that are increasingly falling out of favor with many Americans.

McDonald's has sought for years to remake its image by offering more healthful food items and adding gourmet coffee items to its menu. The company's McCafé coffee products helped to revive sales, pushing up revenues in six of the last seven quarters, the Oak Brook, Ill.-based company says.

McDonald's isn't putting Ronald out to pasture all together. His name, after all, does grace the company's charitable arm, Ronald McDonald House Charities. Ronald still plays an ambassador role, a company spokeswoman told Bloomberg. He just isn't tied to the menu.


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mgnficntoz

Donald McRonald was never very inspiring. His simpy get up never so much as drew a smile. For being a clown I can't for the life of me recall that he ever once did or said anything funny.

May 19 2011 at 9:03 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Gracie's Here!

Maybe Ronald can go to work for Donald Trump and team up as "Twin Clowns." Although, Ronald is the better looking and has more HAIR!

April 26 2011 at 4:46 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
rbcookrider

Micky D's and Starbucks both suck when it comes to coffee! Starbucks has changed their name to Fivebucks

April 26 2011 at 1:44 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Traci

They need to get rid of the nasty coffee drinks they offer...they're McDonalds not Starbucks. People want Big Macs and Cokes!

April 21 2011 at 6:12 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
markcomputerb

Age desrimanation? Involunteery retirement? Ronald should sue.

April 21 2011 at 5:38 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
edgarlongenecker

Good bye Ronald.... your leering at childrens' days are over... Make sure you register, wherever you go... As for Ray Kroc; their spokeswoman says he spent two million dollars, developing their french fries... so, now you have the rest of the story; as to where "That's a Kroc," came from... Yes, we send our taters to the gym, three times a week, to, develop our ooze fries...

April 21 2011 at 12:11 PM Report abuse -1 rate up rate down Reply
Corey

If You are going to buy all that high priced Coffee,You are going to need some CASH...
GO TO: www.infinitecashnow.com

April 18 2011 at 11:39 AM Report abuse -1 rate up rate down Reply
Larry Sanchez

Yeah I heard that with all the illegal imigrints that they hire , they are replacing him with Speedy Gonzalos

April 18 2011 at 8:51 AM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
k2000day

m

April 18 2011 at 2:12 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Miss Thang

I never really cared for Ronald McDonald very much. I did like the Christmas commercials when i was a kid though and he was ice skating

April 17 2011 at 11:13 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply