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McDonald's Goes Cheesecake

Is it the end of an era? After more than 40 years together, and just days after Demi married Ashton, it appears that Mickey D's is about to dump Ronald. At least in Japan.

According to BBC News, burger titan McDonald's (NYSE: MCD  ) has decided to experiment with new advertising in Japan that won't feature legendary clown Ronald McDonald. In his place, apparently, will be a bikini-clad woman sporting high heels. Talk about your rebranding.

The Beeb says that Ronald will live on in other countries. It's probably safe to assume that the U.S. is on that list -- for now, anyway. Ronny just doesn't have the cultural presence in Japan that he does here. I can understand that. But I doubt that it'll be too long before we, too, see bathing beauties hawking salads under the Golden Arches.

The campaign is intended to promote healthy living and other products besides burgers and fries. And certainly, the menu has changed at McDonald's. Fruits and vegetables now sit alongside the Big Mac and the McFlurry. The goal, it seems, is to unhitch McDonald's from the waistline-expanding documentary film Super Size Me.

But isn't this just selling sex? I think so. That's why I'm betting this campaign will be airlifted to the States before long. Pretty faces and bodies sell well here. Just ask Motley Fool Inside Value pick Anheuser-Busch (NYSE: BUD  ) and Molson-Coors (NYSE: TAP  ) what they think. And, really, if you're going to promote healthy living a la salads, fruits, and the like, which sounds more appealing -- an aging clown, or a vivacious young woman?

So, Ronald, this means goodbye. We've had some good times. Who could forget watching you poke fun at Grimace? Or how about those goofy escapades with you chasing the Hamburglar? What great memories they are. We'll hold on to them as you go the way of Mayor McCheese. A younger, slimmer, sexier, icon has arrived. And there's not enough room at the fryer for you both.

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Fool contributor Tim Beyers marvels that some folks are on the McDonald's diet. Tim didn't own shares in any of the companies mentioned in this story at the time of publication. You can find out what's in his portfolio by checking Tim's Fool profile, which is here. The Motley Fool has an ironclad disclosure policy.

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