Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Bad time to be a mascot

Think your job is less than secure? Try working as a fast-food mascot.

Groups have used petitions and newspaper ads to call for the firing of Ronald McDonald, who was getting less camera time in commercials as it was. But at least headquarters publicly reassured the clown he’d always have a place at McDonald’s headquarters to park his oversized red shoes.

Not so for the Burger King figurehead, who, rumor has it, was studying Portuguese to get in good with the new Brazilian owner. Today brought a blockbuster news report from the Miami Herald about a reimaging campaign for the Number Two burger chain. As part of the facelift, the wooden-faced King will be downgraded from everyday star to the old guy who’ll be kept on the bench for pinch-hitting situations.

The chain has realized that the King resonates too well with young blue-collar males, the so-called super heavy users of fast-food restaurants. It wants to broaden the Home of the Whopper's scope to include more women and families.

Reports that the King is now moonlighting as the recurring killer in direct-to-video horror movies could not be confirmed. It just seems certain he may be logging some bench time, maybe down in the dungeon.

I guess we should look at the bright side. Jack, of Jack in the Box fame, is routinely picked as the mascot whose head is most likely to roll, though that speaks more to the shape of his noggin than any concerns about job performance. He also has a front-office position as chairman.

And let’s not forget the Jollibee bumblebee. Despite the decimation of honeybees, the mascot continues to buzz along, drawing customers to his Filipino chain.

Maybe the King could fill in for vacations.

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