Taco Bell is name-dropping its rival’s mascot to promote its new breakfast menu.
The fast-food chain began airing ads Thursday that feature dozens of men who happen to be named Ronald McDonald, the clown mascot known for his yellow jumpsuit and bright hair.
Ronald McDonald has been a McDonald’s mainstay since the 1960s, inspiring a global charity network, Ronald McDonald House Charities.
Taco Bell is using that name recognition to fuel the fast-food breakfast rivalry. The ads show a series of men named Ronald McDonald chomping into Taco Bell’s new breakfast offerings, including the Waffle Taco – a waffle wrapped around a sausage patty or bacon, with scrambled eggs and cheese, served with a side of syrup.
The ads were developed by Interpublic’s Deutsch Los Angeles, with Taylor Strategy representing Taco Bell with the launch.
The advertisements also feature a disclaimer: “These Ronald McDonalds are not affiliated with McDonald’s Corporation and were individually selected as paid endorsers of Taco Bell Breakfast, but man, they sure did love it.”
The ads drew online buzz following their midnight release, with “Taco Bell” trending on Twitter as people discuss today’s new breakfast choices.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.