Published on October 31, 2016, at 4:43 p.m.
By Mary Catherine Molay.
Before you pull out your wig and face paint, remember that there might be repercussions — people are cracking down on individuals dressing up as clowns.
Clowns have long been the topic of conversation for scary movies. In fact, 43 percent of Americans don’t like clowns as they are the one thing that can scare the living daylights out of anyone, from a small child to a fully grown adult. However, with the recent clown sightings around the world, we all need to be aware of what is going on.
The sightings are causing a lot of fear among parents and children. This fear is not the normal “child afraid of a clown” story we usually hear. This time the fear is more real as some clowns have been seen jumping onto the backs of cars and causing some schools to go on lockdown.
Due to the recent clown craze, there has been a 300 percent increase in the sale of “evil clown” costumes. The latest surge in costume sales has made certain suppliers be more cautious as Halloween approaches.
One national chain has decided to try to end the conversation. USA Today reports that Target has removed certain clown masks in stores and online. Target is a great example of how we should respond in a crisis. It went to the source and did what it could to mitigate the problem.
NBC News also reports that McDonald’s is putting a halt on its infamous mascot, Ronald McDonald, until the craze dies down. McDonald’s spokeswoman Terri Hickey announced that “McDonald’s and franchisees in the local markets are mindful of the current climate around clown sightings in communities and as such are being thoughtful in respect to Ronald McDonald’s participation in community events for the time being.”
It appears that companies are listening and staying up to date on what’s going on in their communities. This is a great reminder that it is important to watch the news and read as much as possible in order to identify trends that can impact a company.
With Halloween right around the corner, local police departments are preparing for how they can better handle the clowns. The Miami Police Department even released a public service announcement about how acting as a clown to scare someone is not a joke and should be taken seriously.
Sometimes we must be proactive in our messaging in order to defuse a situation. In the wake of a new fad taking place that can put people at risk, taking that extra step and being different from others may be the best option for your client and the ones receiving your message. Target, McDonald’s and the Miami Police Department did just that. They took precautions to potentially avoid a controversy before it happened. One act is all it takes to turn a negative situation into a positive one.