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McDonald’s Introduces New Mascot Called Happy [UPDATED]

If Ronald McDonald wasn’t disturbing enough, McDonald’s has unveiled a creepy-looking animated mascot in the United States called Happy. The Happy Meal box-shaped creature has rubber-hose arms, a huge set of realistic chompers, bulging eyballs, and the McDonald’s arches as eyebrows. He was introduced in France in 2009, and has since made his way to Latin American countries. In the U.S., Happy will be used as a “Happy Meal brand ambassador” who will encourage “balanced and wholesome eating.” A good first step toward that goal might be to not take your kids to McDonald’s, though Happy probably won’t tell you that.

Here are some of the French commercials with Happy:

UPDATE: For everyone who’s been saying that Happy reminds them of the Minions, it should be stated that the same French animation studio, Mac Guff, does both. And Happy and the Minions have also appeared together, like in this spot directed by Laurent Nicolas at Passion Paris:

And here’s the My Little Pony/Pokémon McDonald’s mashup:

  • eman

    I’m frightened.

    • BlueBoomPony

      It can only harm you if you believe in it, but stay away from mirrors for the next 48 hours just in case.

      • The Nat Kidd

        I don’t get the joke there…

    • Arnaud

      Don’t worry, kid. Myself I was frightened by the creepy striped clown.

  • Sweetness

    McDonalds Minions?

  • Jonathan Lyons

    Little red McMinions.

  • Jaktheparrot

    Two words: Minions.

  • tonk

    “He was introduced in France in 2009” <- Yeah, they are here in Spain too. If the date is alright, the characters were done before Despicable Me. They were probably more based on ubisoft's Rabbits, or "les lapins cretins"

  • Adele K. Thomas

    They are fine once they are animated, they have that cute French touch to the movement. We have all seen A LOT worse.

  • L_Ron_Backfromthegrave

    It very obviously appears to be a Minions rip-off but these apparently came in 2009 and Despicable Me didn’t come out until 2010. It would’ve been too soon for the Minion’s hype to catch the attention of a formulia-reliant executive (they usually take 2 years before they discover something that died from overexposure.)

    It’s a creepy character because of the realistic human eyes and threateningly large teeth but the design is also extremely uncreative and boring. It’s a McDonald’s box with “cartoon limbs”, generic sneakers, and round eyeballs…They could have made something simple and cute like the hopping happy meal box with the yellow smile (that’s something I remember fondly and not from night terrors.)

    • kzdk

      I too find it very, very bland and uncreative. Crying out loud, take some cues from Henson’s Creature Shop. I admire their ability to work with simplified designs that still have variance and individuality.

  • João Alves

    [Comment removed by editors. Per our commenting guidelines, “Defamatory, rude, or unnecessarily antagonistic comments will be deleted.”]

  • popyea

    He’s been shown in Australia for years now as well. Even though the jokes are often quite dumb, I’ve always been impressed by the animation. It’s totally uninhibited and over the top. I’m only just now guessing that since it originated in France, it might have been handled by the Despicable Me guys, right?

  • Chuck D

    This tastes like….Minions

  • Pandering in France is called.

    Le Pandering to Enfant with Fromage.

    • Billy

      And how do they call ordinary xenophobia ?

  • I guess the French really know how to create popular, gibberish-speaking CG cartoons. Because these “Happy” ads were created by the same studio who animates Despicable Me.

    Lord knows how state-side McDonalds is going to make Happy represent “well-balanced eating”.

    • Billy

      But they’re characters ordered by american companies, for american products ; the Minions are even written by american scenarists. I’m not sure it’s wise to see them as all-french representative characters. When Dreamworks or Sony subcontract their movies to China or India, nobody thinks of the characters as natives…

  • Dana B

    They look better in motion, but that doesn’t excuse the fact he’s pretty creepy looking. Kinda funny how they take after the Minions when they were introduced a year before DM came out.

  • Ogglar

    Well I saw the commercials a few years ago and although they resemble the minions I think they’re a pretty generic spaghetti armed cartoon a la adventure time in 3d. This doesn’t make them any less fun tough and I expect more, like toys and movie related commercials

  • Kirby

    Wow, US is just seeing him now? He’s made appearances in Australia.

  • Rotten Ronald

    And when you combine him with a health warning on a packet of Australian cigarettes (as I photographed my friend doing recently), you get this…

    • Rotten Ronald

      second try…

  • Toonio

    This is what you get when you put kids out of school in charge of designing a corporate image. Sure, you pay them close to nothing but the blow back is total devastation.

  • Paul M

    Greatest mascot Idea since Mac Tonight.

  • BlueBoomPony

    My god, it’s like gazing into the maw of Pandemonium itself. Hide the children. Warn the neighbors. Keep your powder dry.

  • Joshua Marchant

    I’m sick of the trend of characters who speak in garbled high-pitched voices and get into mischief.

    Minions, Rabbids, Those bears and fish from ‘The Lorax’ and now these Happy Meal clones.

    Do something original, please!

    • Matthew Broussard

      Minions, Rabbids, and now this character: all French in origin. I’m not sure if this says something about France’s taste in cartoon characters..

      • Billy

        I’m not sure either, because that’s characters directed to a global market. Note that their success is global too…

      • CB

        The French made Ernest and Celestine, Wakfu, and The King and the Mockingbird.

      • Neve

        And “Touli the Dreamkeeper”

  • Lllsivia

    What? you still didn’t know that? I didn’t know that he was named that way.
    Here in Italy is nothing new: we have television advertisment with this charachter since long time! He does short gags themed to the toy brand of the Happy Meal surprises: nothing so appealling

  • Googamp32

    Well, I never thought I could find a cardboard box from the Uncanny Valley, but leave it to Micky’Ds to prove me wrong. Something tells me that this will be just as big an advertising disaster as the 1984 Olympics promotion.

  • Roberto Severino

    I smell plagiarism of the highest order! Ripoff anyone?

  • Ant G

    Are Mac Guff also involved with the Rabbits in Ubisoft’s Rayman? Trying to figure out if this type of character is a reflection of them or if its a french culture thing. In either case, it comes off as a phase in the US the way its mimicked, and won’t be a lasting comedic trope.

  • starss

    … what happened to the kid on the farm with the animals?? Didn’t THEY replace Ronald McDonald already!?

    • Funkybat

      I don’t get the point of that kid with the Norwegian hat and the goat. What the hell does he have to do with McDonald’s? Would it kill them to just reboot the classic McDonaldland characters? Or do they have to pay royalties to the Kroffts for that?

  • Francisco

    Less scary than giant red haired clowns.
    It has been around in mexico for a couple of years, I like it, my 3 year old likes it. I don’t get what all the fuss is about.

  • Abbus

    Are there any American commercials featuring this mascot?

  • James VanDam

    Though I can see why people are getting tired of characters who just speak in gibberish, I honestly think that this is kind of a good thing. I think it harkens back to the times of Tom and Jerry where characters told stories through movements and emotions rather than duologue.

    • But Tom and Jerry didn’t talk non-stop in gibberish all of the time…

      • James VanDam

        Point Taken.

  • Skip
  • ed

    Can’t they just bring back Speedee?

    • Chris Sobieniak

      I see someone remembers that hamburger dude!

      • Tril

        Who, Mayor McCheese?

  • Chicken McPhee

    AAAAARGH! KILL IT WITH FIRE! It’s a talking happy-meal!

  • Christopher Bogart

    It fits, Americans are fat. We are pretty much just Boxes with teeth these days.

  • Michel Van

    the irony is that Mac Guff made Happy Meal commercial
    about McD Toys for Dreamwork Films !–jbwUBkA

    but Mac Guff made also other CGI commercial for French Media

  • Bitsy Rich Wong Dobrowski Keye

    You want creepy? Take a look at an early Ronald McDonald commercial with Willard Scott:

  • Steven Bowser

    I think I just got stupider watching this.

  • jhalpernkitcat

    At first, I was a bit afraid of that still shot of Happy. However, when I saw those French commercials, I found them to be rather adorable. I really liked the one with Happy cheering up the big cardboard box.

  • ……people still eat at McDonald’s?

  • Trevorton Thompson

    I think I speak for everyone when I say the following words:


  • PonkaPoe

    Huh. They’ve been here in Mexico for about a year now.

  • kuzronk

    I’m not sure what I think about this but it will scare less kids.

  • Barking Bud

    It’s creepier than this (also very creepy) bank:

  • The Nat Kidd

    I never found Ronald McDonald to be a creepy character when I was young, nor do I find this creepy as well. I remember seeing commercials of those in YouTube 3 years, I thought they were nice and better than the ads we have here since they were crossover commercials and such. Now the Happy Meal character is going to be advertise here huh? Okay, though I’d like to see old McDonald characters in the company’s advertisements again. And something that I do want to say that its weird to see French studios making characters speak gibbirrish. We got Ubisoft’s Rabbid’s from the Rayman franchise (now the Rabbid’s split from the series, making it kind of a spin off), we got the Despicable Me minions (I heard they speak actual languages but they are mixed), and now we have this. Heck, the Happy Meal character even had some crossover commercials with them! Ah French. :)