McDonald’s Thailand- Ronald is a Charlatan

Ronald McDonald is a clown, even more so in Thailand.

Personal Plastic Greeting

Be ashamed Ronald. Aping a Thai greeting does not make McDonald’s Thai. Thai’s are known for their friendliness- a plastic clown imitating a Thai greeting is an embarrassment; whenever you enter a Thai restaurant or buy food on the street a real live Thai person will greet you with an authentic Thai greeting.

A plastic clown parroting the Thai greeting does not make you, your menu or your company Thai. It shows a lack of understanding for what will make you successful in Thailand. If the Thai people desire a Thai greeting, they will purchase Thai food from a Thai person- usually at 20% of the cost of the food on the McDonald’s menu.

When a Thai person enters a McDonald’s, they are going to experience the American brand they have seen on TV. They want to try a hamburger, see what this American brand and about.

Yes, McDonald’s is a great value- in America you can eat a meal for around $2.00, the real savings is that the more $2.00 McDonald’s meals you eat, the shorter you life expectancy will be and the fewer $2.00 meals you will need to purchase.

Spend less now and eater fewer meals in your life- eat fast, die young.

I believe in Darwin Economics and Business- if the Thai government allows multinational business into their country, giddy up and let the competition for the Baht begin. But, a successful strategy for branding, market penetration and loyalty is not a plastic clown imitating a tradition- that is a poor interpretation of “think global and act local”.

McDonald’s- be ashamed, this is lazy and a poor reflection of your brand. Be American, bring the Thai people the greasy bit of Americana they want, one visit and they will forever appreciate the value and quality of their food- and of the greeting they receive when they purchase that food.

More Information:

There are 130 McDonald’s in Thailand- one McDonald’s per every 490,584 people; in the USA there are 13,300 McDonald’s, one per every 23,217 people. This implies that McDonald’s has a great opportunity for growth in Thailand, or that McDonald’s product faces limited acceptance and opportunity in Thailand. Worldwide there are over 30,000 McDonald’s.

McDonald’s outstanding nutritional value:

McDonald’s Thailand:

About faranginbangkok

I began working in Bangkok during 2008- a time that featured a great deal of political unrest in Thailand and particularly Bangkok. I had lived in San Francisco for 15 years and was working on a project in Thailand. Generally, I spent 2 weeks in Bangkok and then 3-4 weeks in San Francisco. Did Bangkok begin to feel like home? Yes, and No. Bangkok and the Thai culture forced me to feel many things, the change in culture and environment was so dramatic it forced the decision- embrace or ignore. I embraced and made Bangkok my home and base in 2009. I have enjoyed living in Bangkok, experiencing Thailand and the entire ASEAN region. I moved to Singapore in 2016...fallen behind on this blog since.
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6 Responses to McDonald’s Thailand- Ronald is a Charlatan

  1. Dan Wade says:

    Ronald looks TERRIFYING in that picture!! I wish they’d never come to England, thats for sure……..

  2. kaitlyn kahala says:

    mcdonald is way to fattening to our kids

  3. reader says:

    I believe that McDonald’s tried to get closer to Thai people. And in order to do that, they decided to have Ronald poses as an authentic Thai greeting. If McDonald’s differentiate themselves from Thai culture, then it might be difficult to gain customers. Though, the company itself is well-known globalize. So it is easy to attract thai people because they like trying on national food and the variety of food is very important concept for thai people.

    Because thai people really cares about food, quality, and nutritients. So it might be difficult to attract the consumers with unhealthy food (same quality as in the US). Which is why they-McDonald’s created som-tum version, mac-rice (or something like that). I dont think that thai people would like it if the food is as greasy as in the US or low quality.

    So to conclude, I think McDonald’s is doing a good job in terms of targeting Thai people by understand their life-style and what types of food they like. 🙂

  4. S.W. Cowslip says:

    the men a McD’s are very good at distilling and Disneyfying a piece of local culture if it means selling more patties!
    Frankly I think it is shameful and culturally intrusive

  5. bao-bao says:

    I’ve been horrified by that clown wai since my first trip. It’s really not for me to say, but I think it’s a slap in the face to Thai culture and sensibility regarding food. I haven’t gone after Ronald on my blog yet (I’ve had too much fun with his Uncle, KFC) to get to it yet… but it’s coming. Glad to see you feel somewhat the same about it.

  6. What? says:

    Nine years later and I still haven’t heard a single Thai complain about ol’ Ronald, just kids taking pictures with him.

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