Taking a page from Trivago’s marketing textbook, the tastemakers at McDonald’s apparently are banking on the mysterious allure of a sketchy looking dude with three days of stubble and a “recently divorced dad who sleeps in his car from time to time” vibe to sell its talo-soaked treats to the lumpen masses. In an attempt to reverse its slumping sales and greasy public image as a stingy employer and purveyor of sadness, guilt and poor eating habits in a sesame seed bun, the fast food giant wants to present itself as a “modern, progressive burger company.” And that means giving its Hamburglar mascot a makeover.
The squat, masked crusader known for mumbling “rubble rubble” and terrifying children’s dreams in the 1980s and ’90s is now an actual man with actual skin. He’s also slimmer, wears a trench coat and sports red high tops.
However, much like the Trivago guy, who equally confounded viewers with his belt-less torso, wrinkled beige shirt and distant “I’ve seen some s***” stare into the dark abyss of his shame-ridden past, the new Hamburglar does not instill feelings of empathy or trust. At best, he looks like a cross between a university student who cobbled together a Halloween outfit at the last minute for an inappropriately themed costume party and a creepy drunk guy who might flash you his junk at any minute.
Then again, the uproar and media attention over the Trivago guy did wonders for the company. So much so we now know that Trivago is an online hotel pricing site and not an STD you contract on a tropical island.
So maybe McDonald’s is onto something, especially considering all the media attention the new Hamburglar has received. He might raise eyebrows, creep people out and get negative reviews, but so do most things on McDonald’s menu, and that hasn’t been much of a problem until recently.