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McDonald's will replace Ronald McDonald with Asterix in France.
December 20, 2001 11:35 AM   Subscribe

McDonald's will replace Ronald McDonald with Asterix in France. Hoping to appease anti-American anti-junk food sentiments in France, they're giving Ronald the boot.
posted by panopticon (32 comments total)

 
Is this a failure of international iconography by corporations, and a new venture into mining and co-opting (and devaluing) other cultures' symbols?
posted by panopticon at 11:35 AM on December 20, 2001


if you can't win them, BUY THEM.
god I hate Mcdonald's.
posted by martz at 11:40 AM on December 20, 2001


> Is this a failure of international iconography by
> corporations, and a new venture into mining and co-
> opting (and devaluing) other cultures' symbols?

In the US, they're retiring Ronald in favor of Lowly Worm. You heard it first here.
posted by jfuller at 11:46 AM on December 20, 2001


Mais, c'est pas du sanglier, ça.
</obélix>
posted by mcwetboy at 11:52 AM on December 20, 2001


If McDonalds were truly unpopular with French people, then wouldn't it go out of business? Would they complain as loud if it were only visiting Americans eating Big Macs?

Seems as if what eating at some French people is that plenty of their fellow citizens DO consume fast food, and maybe think every meal shouldn't be a test of one's patriotism.

As for Asterix the indomitable Gaul, I guess the people who owned his copyright weren't too proud to lease him out to the highest bidder.
posted by coelecanth at 11:54 AM on December 20, 2001


I would think Obelix would be a more appropriate character.
posted by me3dia at 11:57 AM on December 20, 2001 [1 favorite]


Pepe Le Peu (sp?) should be the new Starbucks mascot... cause they stink!
posted by billy athens at 11:59 AM on December 20, 2001


Way to go France. When you step up and take a stand for a cause, your country shines like the great Beacon of Europe. I have a chain of Jerry Lewis Hot Dog stands I'd like to discuss.
posted by KevinSkomsvold at 12:19 PM on December 20, 2001


Does this mean AnnThrax Coulter will have to change which clown she blows while visiting there?
posted by nofundy at 12:20 PM on December 20, 2001


Does this mean AnnThrax Coulter will have to change which clown she blows while visiting there?
I think we should invade France and convert them to Christianity
posted by matteo at 12:21 PM on December 20, 2001


Finally, Mayor McCheese will come into his own!

Wait - he's Irish, isn't he? Well, what about Hamburglar, um, no... got it! The FRENCH fry guys!

Glad we got that fixed. What next?
posted by UncleFes at 12:21 PM on December 20, 2001


Pepe Le Peu (sp?)

Pépé Le Pu
posted by ParisParamus at 12:24 PM on December 20, 2001


Don't those French surrender monkeys complain about EVERYTHING?

If it wasn't for us, they'd be complaining in German!
posted by Hugh2d2 at 12:25 PM on December 20, 2001


Hugh2d2, was ist denn so schrecklich an Deutsch? Ist doch eine hübsche Sprache.

As for Asterix, that's bitterly ironic -- isn't he the guy who defends the last French village from the Empire?
posted by muckster at 12:30 PM on December 20, 2001


What's ironic is that José Bové's nickname is Asterix, and he's one of their most vocal critics.
posted by panopticon at 12:39 PM on December 20, 2001


Yes, panopticon, my point exactly. Fighting the Romans/overbearing Empire is what Asterix is all about. Nice job of appropriating a cultural icon, MickeyD's.
posted by muckster at 12:41 PM on December 20, 2001


Muckster, it's a fine language. I'm just pointing out that the French will never stop complaining. It's a constant in the universe.

They didn't seem to mind the US helping them out in war time, but ever since they have had a different attitude.
posted by Hugh2d2 at 12:42 PM on December 20, 2001


What panopticon & muckster said.
posted by riffola at 12:49 PM on December 20, 2001


"French surrender monkeys"? Sigh. Can't we discuss anything about the French without some troll throwing FARK-worthy clichés that have nothing to do with the topic at hand?
posted by mcwetboy at 1:25 PM on December 20, 2001


LOL, sorry McWetboy, it was actually a pseudo-quote from Groundskeeper Willie on the Simpsons. I just left off the "Cheese-eatin" part.
posted by Hugh2d2 at 1:29 PM on December 20, 2001


If it weren't for France in the Revolutionary War, Americans would be eating tea and crumpets and sending your taxes to King George. "France Surrenders" is one of the reasons I stopped visiting Fark.

The other are those dumb photoshop contests. Batboy, WTC tourist, that japanese brown sponge bob thing, ok ok, farkers, we understand--the joke is over. It doesn't get funnier the more you tell it. AYB indeed.
posted by Tacodog at 1:36 PM on December 20, 2001


So what happens to Ronald McDonald, does he become irrelevant as a global symbol? Are global symbols, logos, etc. losing meaning because they're not specific enough for the markets they serve? In an attempt to localise, is one brand going to have to fracture into a French version, a Japanese version, and an American version, etc.?
posted by panopticon at 2:09 PM on December 20, 2001


The likeness of Ronald McDonald is far too complex to be an international symbol in the first place. Symbols need to be iconic. The Golden Arches, now that's an international symbol -- and it's the one McDonald's most jealously guards.
posted by kindall at 2:15 PM on December 20, 2001


I'm thinking like coele...If the French supposedly don't like McDonald's, why is France one of their most profitable sectors? For instance, Pizza Hut went to Argentina a few years ago. Argentina has a large Italian population, so the people there are used to Italian-style pizza, and didn't buy the pizza. PH pulled out within a couple years.

The great thing about our globalist system is that companies only bring products to other countries that the people there are willing to buy. It's just that the extremists on any side of an issue are the ones willing to whine the most.

(Also, what's the deal with the Euros and food safety concerns? Jiminy, there's a lot of skepticism that Mad Cow and human brain disease are even linked, and (though I know this isn't the discussion) food safety issues from GE are pretty much a non-concern in the scientific community. I don't get it. I think that, if there were a case or three of Mad Cow here stateside, hardly anyone would change their eating habits)
posted by Kevs at 2:40 PM on December 20, 2001


I had friends visit from Europe, and they ravenously ate steaks and burgers. A lot of people are scared of eating beef in Europe. That's hurting Macdo.
posted by panopticon at 3:05 PM on December 20, 2001


I can't say I blame them for being concerned about Mad Cow, but the "informed" opposition to food from genetically engineered crops, and also from cattle with bovine growth hormone, seems a little specious. Someone's not being totally honest if they're insisting on banning stuff that they say is already wildly unpopular. On agricultural issues I've come to believe that there's a quiet, permanent, vicious little trade war ongoing between Europe and the US.
posted by coelecanth at 3:54 PM on December 20, 2001


Look. France deserves as much criticism as possible on all fronts. It's obvious.
posted by ParisParamus at 3:59 PM on December 20, 2001


Well, Ronald always did remind me of a skinny John Wayne Gacy. But those French better not mess with Grimace,dammit! Actually, has it occured to anyone that Grimace went off got plastic surgery and became Barney the dinosaur? Just a thought.
And McWetboy, what's with the FARK-bashing? I always thought that's where the MeFi'ers went when they were drunk and feeling rowdy.
Actually alternating between the two sites reminds me of high school when my Honors-level English class met just before my moron-level Math class. The english class was far more intellectually stimulating but in the Math class we had a blast annoying the teacher.
posted by jonmc at 4:34 PM on December 20, 2001


And McWetboy, what's with the FARK-bashing? I always thought that's where the MeFi'ers went when they were drunk and feeling rowdy.

I'd just as soon we weren't drunk and rowdy here, that's all.

(And I have common-in-laws in France, and I was trained as a historian of modern France — I could, if I wanted to, shoot down the whole surrender-monkey argument, but that would be boring and pedantic and not much fun. So the whole let's-make-snide-comments-about-the-French routine is just a little tiresome to me ... especially since this is a thread about McDonald's!)

Actually, has it occured to anyone that Grimace went off got plastic surgery and became Barney the dinosaur?

Okay, you asked for it: the truth about Barney and Grimace. (from Space Moose)
posted by mcwetboy at 5:01 PM on December 20, 2001


Major stuff actually, this Ronald McD thing. They would be changing the second most recognized figure in the world (behind Santa Claus).

Gettin' desperate maybe...
posted by a_green_man at 6:12 PM on December 20, 2001


At first I thought the post read asterisk, what Vonnegut used to portray an asshole. I think that would be a bit more fitting.
posted by skallas at 6:16 PM on December 20, 2001


Pizza Hut went to Argentina a few years ago. Argentina has a large Italian population, so the people there are used to Italian-style pizza, and didn't buy the pizza. PH pulled out within a couple years.


I just came out from a couple months' stay in Mexico City, and among what I was told is that Pepsico actually attempted to open their Taco Bell chain there some years ago.

It barely lasted a month before they had to pull out. Needless to say that was an open insult to Mexican people.

And BTW, there isn't such things as Taco shells and burritos. Those are American inventions.
posted by betobeto at 8:40 PM on December 20, 2001


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