A month or so ago, Countess and I streamed the movie “The Founder”, the partly accurate story of Ray Kroc and the founding of McDonald’s. The movie focused on the business relationship between Kroc and the McDonald brothers who designed the carefully choreographed system to sell burgers and fries in 30 seconds.
Because I subscribe to their mailing list, I got an email soliciting me to donate to RMHC™ – it took me a bit to realize what that was. Ronald McDonald House was a charity formed to provide temporary housing for the families of children undergoing medical treatment at hospitals.
However, McDonald’s has walked away from their iconic mascot, which leaves the Ronald McDonald house without a connection to its origin. Children today don’t get the idea of Ronald McDonald. Much of McDonald’s success was due to advertising on the emerging medium of television that wormed its way into the brains of children everywhere. The children would go to birthday parties at McDonald’s and a generation later take their kids to spend an hour with the real Ronald McDonald.
McDonald’s management and activist groups have been trying to phase out Ronald McDonald since 2003, at one point reimaging the clown as a skinny “healthy” clown. The Founder’s story never mentioned Ronald McDonald, and the charity just barely acknowledged the inspiration for the charity.
After Ray Kroc died, Joan did not leave Ray’s fortune to the Ronald McDonald House charity, but instead left around $200 million to National Public Radio, and a much larger donation to the Salvation Army.