By Patrick M. Sheridan
NEW YORK (CNNMoney) — McDonald’s tweeted a photo of the new Happy Meal mascot, saying: “Say hello to our newest friend, Happy!”
But within hours, the new square-faced red and yellow mascot with big white teeth was scaring away people on Twitter and had become the butt of jokes.
@DrZombield said: THAT! Is scary!
@CraigGrannell warned: “HE WILL EAT YOU ALIVE! RUN!”
@Naive_Steve came up with his own tag-line: “Happy”, “It’s the meal that eats you.”
And @jrichardmiller said: “Happy” looks happy bc he just finished off a family of six #RIP #HappyMeal.”
“We are not un-happy about” the response, said Julie Wenger, senior director of U.S. marketing for McDonald’s. “Happy is not for everyone. He’s about having fun. Really for kids and families.”
Wenger said: “Happy is promoting healthy choices through fun and lightheartedness.”
But not everyone was on board with McDonald’s message, especially given the fast food chain’s reputation for peddling calorie-laden fare.
@samkamani said, “In order to fight obesity in kids, McDonalds introduces its new mascot to scare children.”
@erikbransteen said, “Congrats #McDonalds, first you fatten our kids, then you haunt their nightmares.”
The Happy Meal mascot launches this Friday.
™ & © 2014 Cable News Network, Inc., a Time Warner Company. All rights reserved.