British Newspaper The Guardian sat down with Joe Maggard, the man who was the official McDonald’s mascot for 12 years, from 1995 to 2007. Despite officially retiring, Joe will still don the costume and take to the streets to spread goodwill and rep the golden arches. It’s unclear if he’s paid for this service.
It’s odd to hear Ronald talk about “making healthy choices” when Mickey D’s is just about one of the worst things you can put into your body. And some would argue the whole Ronald McDonald character is just a ploy to get kids hooked on junk food.
But Joe’s a strangely endearing figure. With his southern twang the man strikes you as a lonesome rodeo clown put out to pasture. “It’s a calling,” Joe tells the interviewer, “it’s a profession, and I’m very proud of it, proud of his heritage, proud of what he stands for.”
Though McDonald’s has been through some tough times lately Joe does strike a chord: the brand’s place in American history and culture. What does McDonald’s mean to this generation of Americans? And what about the future? Food for thought.