Not so fast. Hamburglar is still alive, but is perhaps on life support, at least according to a trademark search.
McDonald’s renewed the trademark for the beefy criminal back in 2006, though we haven’t seen much of his black stripes since then. In fact, we have seen very little of Ronald’s other friends, who used to include the rotund purple Grimace, munchkin-like Fry Kids and head honcho Mayor McCheese. Wikipedia reports that they were all pretty much phased out by 2003; that means now that two generations now don’t know who they are.
But it’s not only Hamburglar who is on life support. With the recent attack on soft drinks by Mayor Bloomberg and the general fanatical attack on any marketing to kids, all of these McDonaldland characters don’t seem to have a future hawking Happy Meals.
There is, however, a Bring Back the Hamburglar page on Facebook, but fans of the Hamburglar will have to get busy, because it only has nine fans. A “Causes” page for Bring Back Hamburglar and Grimace has 24 votes. Their slogan? “We will not rest until Hamburglar and Grimace are once again leading characters in McDonalds advertisements.”
A bit of the status of the trademarks. Interestingly, they were initially refused registration by the U.S. Patent and Trademark office, in that the were seen by the USPTO as merely “fanciful” characters and not “service marks” associated with the selling of food. McDonald’s appealed, and the marks were registered.
Here are the top seven M.I.A. McDonaldland characters, according to social media.
- Mayor McCheese was renewed in 2005. He is pretty popular with over Facebook 3,900 likes, including my childhood friend from Norfolk Academy, Joe Metzler! See Mayor McCheese on Facebook.
- Grimace, first used in commerce in 1971, registered in 1985 and renewed in 2005. The “Where’s Grimace” Facebook Page has 79 likes.
- Fry Kids. 16 Likes on Facebook. That’s kind of sad because they are sort of interesting, in an Oompa Loompa sort of way.
- Officer Big Mac. Only 12 Facebook fans.
- Hamburglar, who first began use in 1971, was renewed until 2016. He only has nine fans.
- Captain Crook also has a measly nine fans.
- Fry Kids don’t warrant a Facebook, though there is an Etsy shop selling McD’s stuff with that name.
Speedee, the original McDonald’s man, gets little attention. Speedee was actually a man in a chef’s hat with a hamburger as a head.
Perhaps Grimace and company might show up in the First Lady’s Let’s Move campaign? That might be an effective way to keep the trademark active, and would have insta-appeal to Gen X and Millenial parents.