Their grins put the “happy” in Happy Meals, but these mascots are more than just pretty faces.
Cooked up in corporate boardrooms, they were designed to sell Americans the fast-food industry trifecta that is sugar, salt, and grease. Mascots go where corporate execs can’t—from our TV and computer screens into our homes. Some have become almost too familiar and indelible in our minds. But did you know that Colonel Sanders despised KFC’s unhealthy menu? And that the first actor to play Ronald McDonald was dropped for being too heavy? Click through for the bizarre backstories of six famous fast-food mascots. They’re more socially relevant than you’d think.