Did McDonald’s bungle the Hamburglar reboot?

Yesterday, McDonald’s launched its latest attempt to salvage its relevance among millennials by revamping its classic character, the Hamburglar, transforming him from the rosy-cheeked cartoon ’90s kids knew into a real, live man.

McDonald’s has had a rough start to 2015. CEO Don Thompson announced his resignation in late January. Domestic same-store sales are down 4 percent. Multiple reshuffles and layoffs across marketing and other departments have left a company with a significant image problem struggling to communicate their value to a generation that regards their burgers as unhealthy.

So, a few hours in, has McDonald’s relaunch been all sizzle, no steak?

Opinion is divided — not everyone is lovin’ it — but at least the jokes are coming on strong:

All in all, it’s not an egregious backfire — if you believe there’s no such thing as a bad tweet.

However, the clash of tones — is Hamburglar 2.0 a hot dad or playground creeper? — leaves the brand message unclear: In the TV spot, the Hamburglar is a suburb-dwelling father with a wife, tween son and secret identity. In the promotional images, the Hamburglar wears stylish kicks, slouchy pants and sports facial scruff — more urban-living single dude than burger-grilling dad.

If the social impact is anything to go by, this could be a win for the company in spite of itself. In the longterm though, it could have been an excellent opportunity to resurrect the Hamburglar as millennials actually knew him: one-toothed, cheeky, fun, and above all, an ageless cartoon.


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