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I'm Not Lovin' It

Originally published by Al Jazeera on 07/24/2014

McDonald’s isn’t having a very good week. On Monday it made the news for expired meat turning up in as many as a quarter of its restaurants in China. And on Tuesday it released its second-quarter earnings report, which revealed stagnating profits and falling same-store sales, continuing an eight-quarter losing streak. Is the fast-food behemoth in trouble?

This news is only the latest in a string of bad publicity this year. Back in April, when McDonald’s announced its iconic clown mascot’s new presence on social media and unveiled its makeover, the blogosphere flooded with mockery of the missteps. A “whimsical” red blazer? Yellow cargo pants? One blogger said the unfortunate look came “straight out of 1998.” The hashtag #NotLovinIt trended on Twitter.

Then in May, when McDonald’s launched its next big makeover — this time of its Happy Meal mascot — the Twittersphere erupted again. “Congrats #McDonalds, first you fatten our kids, then you haunt their nightmares” was one of the many taunting tweets. The company defended its bizarre redesign — a smiling red box with big, creepy teeth and spindly arms, named “Happy.” “We are not unhappy about [the response],” McDonald’s senior marketing director told CNN at the time. “Happy is not for everyone. He’s about having fun. Really for kids and families.”