Watching TV I saw a very clever commercial… people named Ronald McDonald promoting Taco Bell’s breakfast taco. I couldn’t resist and began checking social media channels for more information. It was a hit, and Taco Bell was getting just as much play on the name “Ronald McDonald” as McDonald’s.
Imagine the ribbing when you share a name with the clown mascot of the McDonald’s restaurant chain. But for 25 Ronald McDonalds from around the country it finally paid off.
Thanks to their name, they appear in new television commercials that introduce Taco Bell’s breakfast menu.
Taco Bell designed the commercials to take a bite out of McDonald’s hold on the fast food breakfast market. Since the ads launched on March 27, they have gone viral in social media. The ads and a behind-the-scenes video on their filming have received nearly 2.5 million views on You Tube, a Taco Bell spokesperson said. That doesn’t count those who have seen them on TV and in movie theaters.
Ronald “Steve” McDonald, 43, a medical group administrator and the married father of three, describes the experience as exciting, amazing and humbling. It happened quickly because Taco Bell was trying to keep it quiet. In February, a talent agency called, saying they were looking for people with unique names. At first, “I thought it was a prank call, a scam,” he said. Once on location, we finally learned why they were there.
When the commercials launched, McDonald was one of two Ronald McDonalds at Taco Bell headquarters in Irvine, Cal., engaging with the online social community through real-time video responses. The filming gave the men a chance to share stories about growing up with the name “Ronald McDonald.” “You develop thick skin,” Ronald “Steve” McDonald said. His mother liked the name Ronald; it had nothing to do with the McDonald’s clown, he said. He went by Ronald until 10th grade, but decided to be called Steve when the McDonald’s clown became a popular icon.
“Finally, my name is something to feel proud of,” he said. “My mom said, ‘I told you so.’”