Wearing a bright yellow jumpsuit, white face paint, and a long-sleeved red and white
shirt, he isn't a new fashion icon. His bright red hair, nose, and mouth make
him a natural in his position as the Chief Happiness Officer for the McDonald's
Corporation. As the mascot for the company, Ronald McDonald is easily
recognized by 96 percent of school
children in the US. For the most part, this "spokesclown" is loved, and helps
improve company recognition, which in turn, translates into increased profits.
Mascots have existed for thousands of
years. Historically, they have been animals that men admired. Native American
Indians carved mascots into their totem poles, hoping to attain a cheetah's
speed or a bear's strength. Even now, mascots are
symbolic of the qualities we would like to possess.
For the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing, China has chosen mascots known as
the Five Friendlies. Each of the four animals (fish, panda, antelope, and
swallow) represents a unique
athletic ability and offers a special blessing
from China to the world. At the center of the group stands
Huanhuan the Olympic flame, representing passion for sport and the unity of all
nations through the Olympic Games.
In sports, teams treasure their mascots and often view them as lucky
charms. In business, mascots are used to attract
attention and impact
a customer's perception about a company. Fast-food icon Ronald McDonald can
attest to this fact.
Recently, Taipei began searching for a mascot. Which animal would best
represent this progressive capital city? With its extensive system of
underground tunnels and more than two million inhabitants
bustling through its streets, offices, and
apartments, Taipei's mascot would have to be the busy, intelligent, and