Thursday, October 13, 2016
McDonald's has announced that its clown, Ronald, is taking a vacation until the hysteria of evil clown sightings goes away. The panic this time seems to have started in South Carolina and spread through the country. It is not the first time this has happened. The question is why parents and children become so alarmed by clowns. What is it about pancake makeup, costume and oversized shoes that engender fear? Perhaps it is the anonymity of the person. Perhaps, ersatz clowns are trying to scare people. Whatever the reason, it is interesting and a PR case study of how quickly fear can sweep a nation. The panic will subside in time but in the meantime real clowns are hurting for business. They have been swept up in the uncontrollable emotions, and they can only wait until calm reason returns.