McDonald's Drops 'Hammurderer' Character From Advertising

Top Headlines

Issue 3808

Paleontology Class Winces Whenever Fundamentalist Kid Raises Hand

STATE COLLEGE, PA— The 24 other students in a Penn State Paleontology 101 discussion section wince with dread whenever fundamentalist Christian Joseph Moseley raises his hand, classmates reported Tuesday. "As soon as that guy's hand shoots up, the whole class tenses up and is like, 'Oh, God, here we go again,'" classmate Colin Herberger said. "I think he thinks he plays a valuable role in the class, acting as the 'opposing viewpoint,' but it's just annoying."

Area Man Plays 'Imagine' Every Time He Sees A Piano

SALEM, OR— Friends of Bill Moreland expressed irritation Monday over the 29-year-old's habit of playing John Lennon's "Imagine" whenever a piano is in sight. "It's like this desperate grab for attention he tries to pass off as totally casual," friend Alan Carter said. "He'll sit down at the piano with this really deep look on his face, then launch into those really simple first few bars, expecting everyone to be amazed and moved." Friends say the habit has persisted since Moreland was in the fifth grade, when he switched to "Imagine" from the Jaws theme.

Dog Chastised For Acting Like Dog

SACRAMENTO, CA— Obeying the instincts bred into him by millions of years of evolution, Shiner, a 2-year-old golden retriever, incurred his owner's wrath Monday by acting like a dog. "Stop barking at that damn squirrel!" Terri Solanis shouted at the dog. "Can't you sit still for five minutes?" Solanis has previously scolded Shiner for sniffing feces encountered on the sidewalk, licking his own groin, and wolfing down his food.

U.N. Tribunal Swayed By Thousands Of Children's Letters To Milosevic

THE HAGUE, NETHERLANDS— Members of the U.N. war-crimes tribunal were swayed in favor of former Yugoslav president Slobodan Milosevic Monday, when sack after sack of letters from children around the world were heaped onto the presiding judge's desk. "Dear Mr. Milosevic, please get out of jail soon!" read one letter from 6-year-old Brittany White of Houston. Another, from 10-year-old Xiang Xiu of Beijing, read: "We love you, Slobodan! The children of China pray for you!!!" Judge Richard George May, deeply moved by the outpouring of love, ruled that Milosevic is a treasure to children of all ages and then freed him with a bang of his gavel.

Book-Club Meeting Degenerates Into Discussion Of Oscars

MINOT, ND— A weekly meeting of the Minot Public Library's "Book Buddies" club degenerated into a discussion of the upcoming Academy Awards Tuesday. "We were talking about that week's book, A Bend In The Road by Nicholas Sparks, when somebody asked if anyone had seen the movie version of [Sparks'] A Walk To Remember," group leader Ellen Talmadge said. "Then Bill [Polk] asked if anybody had seen John Q. After that, we never really got back to the book." Talmadge added that she considers Nicole Kidman "a lock" for her performance in Moulin Rouge.
End Of Section
  • More News
TV Listings
Just Like Everything Else!: Fox 8 p.m. EDT/7 p.m. ABC Pete's wife is still on him about building that darn shed, these kids are going to be the death of Sheila and Dave, and the hot next-door neighbor is up in EVERYBODY'S business! Sunday nights on ABC couldn't be any more familiar!

Special Coverage

Sleep

Productivity

McDonald's Drops 'Hammurderer' Character From Advertising

OAK BROOK, IL—Bowing to outcry from consumers and parents groups, the McDonald's Corporation announced Monday that it is discontinuing its new advertising mascot, "The Hammurderer," a mischievous, homicidal imp who kills McDonaldland characters and takes their sandwiches.

The discontinued character.

Developed by Chicago advertising agency DDB Needham, the Hammurderer made his debut two months ago and has since appeared in a series of Saturday-morning television commercials, as well as on Happy Meal bags and activity placemats. All appearances by and references to the violent, ill-tempered prison escapee will be dropped.

"Over the years, McDonald's has successfully introduced a number of new characters whose defining characteristic is a certain measure of comical, criminal intent," said Andrew Perlich, McDonald's vice-president of promotions. "Such shady characters as The Hamburglar, The Goblins, and the bloodthirsty pirate Captain Crook have all fit nicely into the McDonald's advertising universe. We had every reason to believe that the Hammurderer, with his long rap sheet of burger-related crimes and his signature cry of 'Stabble Stabble Stabble,' would take his place in this proud lineage of McDonaldland mischief-makers."

The Hammurderer's Jan. 11 debut ad—in which he seizes and devours the McDonald's Happy Meal Guys, oblivious to their frantic screams—earned poor marks from parents and child-development experts, who feared the spot might send the message to children that killing is acceptable. Several weeks later, more controversy erupted over the promotional coloring book "Shivved In The McRibs," in which the Hammurderer decapitates Mayor McCheese and eats his head. Responding to widespread public outrage, McDonald's executives defended the coloring book as "not nearly as violent or socially irresponsible as it has been made out to be, given that the Mayor's head is, in fact, a giant and conceivably edible cheeseburger."

But the uproar over the latest commercial, in which Birdie The Early Bird is garroted by the Hammurderer and her body tossed in a Dumpster, was vociferous enough to prompt the fast-food giant to pull the plug.

"We are sensitive to the concerns of parents and will immediately begin phasing out this character," Perlich said. "Whether we will remove him from commercials without explanation or write him out of the spots with a bloody police standoff, we have yet to decide. But we're confident the Hammurderer will be off the national radar by April."

Hammurderer toys and promotional items, which include dolls, T-shirts, ski masks, and spiked bats, have been recalled and are expected to become prized collectibles.

This is not the first time a McDonald's character has stirred controversy for its violent nature. In 1982, the company introduced "Shakes McJunkie," an emaciated addict who robbed characters of their possessions, which he then sold to buy McDonald's shakes. He was later reworked as "The Machead," a homeless, wild-eyed Big Mac addict who turned to panhandling and gay prostitution as a means of supporting his severe burger habit.

The Hammurderer is quickly becoming regarded as the worst-received advertising mascot since Kool-Aid's 1989 discontinuation of "The Grapist," a huge purple monster who sodomizes thirsty children.