McDonald’s brings back the Hamburglar in latest ad campaign

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NEW YORK — Based on McDonald’s latest ad, it looks like the Hamburglar settled down in the suburbs and spent the last decade going to youth soccer games and perfecting his stubble.

The company is bringing the burger thief back to its advertising after a 13-year absence. On Wednesday, McDonald’s Corp. tweeted a 30-second ad featuring the Hamburglar, his face unseen, flipping burgers in a suburban backyard with his wife and son. When he hears a radio ad for McDonald’s new burgers, he drops his spatula in shock.

In April, McDonald’s announced that it is introducing a trio of “Sirloin Third Pound” burgers for a limited time, the latest sign the chain is pushing to improve perceptions about the quality of its food. In Wednesday’s ad, those burgers lure the Hamburglar out of his quiet retirement.

Publicity photos reveal a grown man in a more fashionable version of the old costume, including a black trenchcoat and fedora with a yellow band. The previous version of the character appeared to be a mischievous child dressed in an old time black-and-white prisoner’s uniform with a hat and cape.

McDonald’s is working to turn around its business, which has seen sales and customer visits decline due to tough competition and the perception that its food is low quality. This year the company has announced a simplified grilled chicken recipe and said it will curb the use of antibiotics in its chicken, among other changes.

The Oak Brook, Illinois-based chain gave Ronald McDonald a makeover last year and gave him an official Instagram account. Some observers described his new apparel, which included a bowtie and rugby shirt, as hipster-y.

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