Midlife Crisis? Ronald McDonald Gets a Makeover, Joins Twitter

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Is Ronald McDonald going through a midlife crisis or just staying up with the times? McDonald's announced yesterday that the burger chain's 51-year-old mascot is getting a makeover and joining social media for the first time.

The clown's new look isn't particularly fashion forward, though Ronald does ditch his jumpsuit for cargo pants and a vest. The mascot is also picking up a red blazer and bowtie "for special occasions." His new clothes were designed by Ann Hould-Ward, who won a Tony Award for her Beauty and the Beast costumes.

The redesigned Ronald McDonald will be appearing in television ads and promotional materials later in 2014. McDonald's restaurants owners and operators will also have the option to incorporate the revamped mascot in design elements in the coming years.

Related: Why China Is Just as Important as Breakfast in the Fast-Food Wars

More noticeable than Ronald's new clothing is his social media debut. While he won't have his own account, the clown tweeting through the #RonaldMcDonald hashtag.

"Selfies… here I come! It’s a big world and now, wherever I go and whatever I do...I’m ready to show how fun can make great things happen,” said Ronald McDonald in a statement

New clothes, hashtags, selfies – is Ronald in touch with changing times, or just desperate for attention? The old-school icon has recently been the subject to mockery by way of Taco Bell's commercial in which men named 'Ronald McDonald' endorsed the Tex-Mex chain's breakfast menu items such as the Waffle Taco. 

Meanwhile, the "real" Ronald McDonald has been struggling to stay relevant as McDonald's sales slipped in the first quarter of 2014. The chain announced Tuesday that same-store sales in the U.S. decreased 1.7 percent in the first quarter. 

Related: McDonald's Profit Slips in Chilly First Quarter. Will Yum Brands Fare Better?

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