McDonald's unveiled a new mascot this week, an anthropomorphic box (?) named Happy. From a press posting on the official McDonald's site: "McDonald’s today introduced 'Happy,' a new animated Happy Meal character that brings fun and excitement to kids’ meals while also serving as an ambassador for balanced and wholesome eating."
It's a good representation of the evolution of pop culture in the past decade; the angst and outsider status of the XTREME mascots of the early 2000s, in which sullen skateboarders were the pinnacle of cool, seem to have given way to an embrace of positivity easily soundtracked by a Pharrell Williams song. Be happy, idiot.
This particular mascot is also a nightmare creature from a candy-colored death world. Its oversized chiclet teeth and torso-sized smile can't mask the calculation emanating from its heavy-lidded eyes. Its spindly Gumby arms can be all-too-easily imagined wrapped around the throat of a small child.
It also appears to be wearing Vans-style sneakers, which are pretty cool.
Anyway Happy is a disaster, of course, but that just makes it the latest in a long line of mascot disasters. We've collected a few others for your perusal.
1. Wenlock and Mandeville
The creation myth of these London Olympic mascots is that they are literally made out of building materials. They were not well-liked.
2. The Lemonhead Boy
The not-sour-enough candy recently revamped its logo to this...thing.
3. Hip-Hop the Rabbit
When the Philadelphia 76ers decided not to bring back Hip-Hop after the lockout, nobody seems to have minded. Or noticed.
4. The Amarillo Sox Sock
The inappropriate sock only made a single appearance before going back to the drawing board.
The unofficial San Diego Charger mascot Boltman's face was redesigned in 2013 to be more like...Jim Carrey in The Mask, I think.
6. The Chicago Cubs Cub
Probably either fully naked or fully clothed is the way to go for a mascot. In between is a little pervy.
The saluki is a noble, ancient breed of dog. The Southern Illinois mascot is something else.
8. The Original Ronald McDonald
Actor/clown Willard Scott was the original creator of Ronald McDonald, and played him in commercials in the 1960s. He was...pretty scary.