(USA TODAY) -- McDonald's is starting to look like Taco Bell's private punching bag.
Monday afternoon, the feisty Mexican fast-food chain, eager to attract attention -- and customers -- for its new breakfast platform, will release yet another commercial that makes McDonald's the butt of its running breakfast joke. This time, McDonald's gets skewered in a lampoon version of the song Old MacDonald Had a Farm.
While the Taco Bell ads seem like fun and games, they are very pointed attempts to steal attention -- and market share -- from the incredible lock that McDonald's has on the $50 billion fast-food breakfast business. For Taco Bell, it's all about garnering attention and social media buzz. For McDonald's, it's a tricky marketing decision about whether to ignore or respond to Taco Bell's high-profile sucker punches. Last week, in a rare move, McDonald's announced it was offering free, small coffees during breakfast hours at participating domestic McDonald's locations.
But the growth potential of fast-food breakfast took a huge hit when the economy tanked and still hasn't recovered, says Ron Paul, president of Technomic, the consulting firm. "If you don't have a job, you're not going to be going out for breakfast," says Paul.
Emboldened by the unusual success of its Doritos Locos Tacos at lunch, Taco Bell now is turning to breakfast to steal a small slice of market share from McDonald's, which it views as vulnerable, says Paul.
In the new ad by Deutsch LA, a semi-dorky guy -- whose house is filled with 1980s memorabilia -- takes his wrapped, Egg McMuffin on the bus and sings (to the tune ofOld MacDonald Had a Farm) that he's been eating Egg McMuffins since 1984. So he gets with the times -- and tries Taco Bell's new Waffle Taco. Presto: he junks his flip phone and gets a smart phone.
Suddenly, the dude dumps his 1980s fixation, and is modern day hip. "When I saw Taco Bell made a Waffle Taco, I figured I would get with the times," he sings, before ripping down his poster of the 80s band Loverboy. This new ad follows Taco Bell's wildly successful commercial featuring a bunch of guys named Ronald McDonald, who all say they prefer Taco Bell's new breakfast.
McDonald's did not immediately comment on Taco Bell's latest commercial. But Taco Bell executives say they're just getting started.
"We have to do things to grab attention," says Chris Brandt, chief marketing officer at Taco Bell. "We're trying to position ourselves as the next generation of breakfast."