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Taco Bell hires 'Ronald McDonald' (2 dozen of them) for breakfast ads

Taco Bell is leaving no doubt that it's going after McDonald's. 

Commercials began airing Thursday promoting Taco Bell's new breakfast menu featuring — Ronald McDonald. Make that nearly two dozen of them.

Don't expect them to look like a certain red-haired clown, though. The Ronald McDonalds featured in the ads are everyday men — including a father and son — with the same name. 

"My name is Ronald McDonald," said the man from Kane, Penn., who later said he loved the "new A.M. Crunchwrap."

Toward the end of the commercial, the men are all gathered in one room and say in unison they love the new breakfast at Taco Bell. The fine print on the screen reads: "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."

Taco Bell's new breakfast menu rolled out nationwide Thursday, after two years of market testing. The menu options will be available from 7 a.m. or earlier until 11 a.m. at more than 5,500 restaurants, according to the restaurant chain. 

Breakfast sales at limited-service restaurants reached $31.7 billion in 2012, expanding 4.8% a year since 2007 and outpacing growth in any other food-service segment, according to research firm Technomic.

Of that pool, McDonald’s holds 31% of sales, or $10 billion. Burger King has a 3% to 4% share, while Chick-fil-A owns as much as a 2.5% share, according to Technomic.

Check out the Taco Bell ad.

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