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The History of the “i’m Lovin’ it” Campaign

McDonalds Billboard

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In 2003, Justin Timberlake helped launch an ambitious new McDonald’s marketing campaign. Tied around the slogan “I’m Lovin’ It,” the advertising blitz marked, surprisingly, the first time the venerable fast-food company had ever used a single message and set of commercials worldwide at the same time. Over the past 13 years, “I’m Lovin’ It” has gone on to become by far the longest-running McDonald’s slogan in history. And the jingle’s “ba da ba ba ba” vocal hook, originally sung by Timberlake, has grown more famous than Timberlake’s actual hits.

Early in 2003, its business in trouble, McDonald’s held a competition between 14 international ad agencies, including the industry’s largest. The winning firm, Heye & Partner—though affiliated with a bigger company—was a “tiny” shop, according to The Wall Street Journal, and based in, of all places, the quiet Munich suburb of Unterhaching, Germany. (Not as delicious as Hamburg, but still.) The idea: “ich liebe es,” which translates to “I love it.” That September, McDonald’s debuted its campaign in Germany in recognition of the agency’s role.

Music, specifically hip-hop, was part of the package from the beginning. Heye worked with German music house Mona Davis Music. In 2004, Mona Davis president Tom Batoy told Adweek he got the inspiration for “ba da ba ba ba,” the campaign’s “audio logo,” when he heard an unnamed backup vocalist sing it in the studio. “Everybody can remember it,” he said at the time.

McDonald’s spent $1.37 billion on advertising the year of “I’m Lovin’ It,” according to AdAge, so it’s understandable that many people played a part.

McDonald’s introduced “I’m Lovin’ It” with five commercials. They were aimed at different demographics, translated into 11 languages, and at times customized for certain regions. The U.S. commercials, McDonald’s announced in September 2003, would feature cameo appearances and vocals from Timberlake, production from the Neptunes, and rapping from Clipse, Pusha T’s duo with his brother No Malice (then just Malice).

To date, McDonald’s has used the slogan in radion campaigns, out of home advertising, tv commercials and also part of their branding. There’s no sign of changing it up anytime soon. After all, if it isn’t broke… don’t fix it.

Source/Full Article: Pitchfork

 

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