Campaign Starts Today

Pop Star Leads McDonald's Global Ad Campaign Launch

Justin Timberlake Deal Valued at $6 Million

By Published on .

CHICAGO ( -- McDonald's Corp. today launches its global "I'm Lovin' It" campaign that features Justin Timberlake in a new series of commercials for the fast-food giant. The campaign also marks the 50-year-old company's first-ever attempt at a coordinated worldwide marketing program.

Photo: Rolling Stone
Justin Timberlake, who has graced the cover of Rolling Stone and countless teen fan publications, will front the new McDonald's global advertising effort.

Related Stories:
Justin Timberlake Works on McDonald's Video and Song
Reported to be Recording 'I'm Lovin' It' Theme as Pop Tune
McDonald's Global Campaign to Debut in Europe
New Worldwide Marketing Effort Will Hit U.S. Later
McDonald's to Sign Pop Star Justin Timberlake
Singer Will Be Part of 'I'm Lovin' It' Campaign

Coordinated tour
Mr. Timberlake's involvement in the hamburger giant's worldwide marketing efforts was first revealed in a July 26 report. The pop singer's commercial efforts for the burger chain are being coordinated with a McDonald's-sponsored 35-city European concert tour that begins in Germany this November.

A Memphis-born 22-year-old heartthrob of the teenybopper set, Mr. Timberlake began his career as a child star on the new Mickey Mouse show in 1993 and rose to international fame as a singer in the boy band 'N Sync. He is now performing solo.

$6 million
Executives close to McDonald's estimate the Timberlake deal to be worth nearly $6 million. McDonald's has declined announce how much it is spending on media for the campaign, which will air in more than 110 countries. Five English-language TV spots featuring vocals and cameo appearances by Mr. Timberlake are included in the global launch package aimed at resuscitating the corporation's troubled sales performance.

McDonald's global chief marketing officer, Larry Light, declined to comment on the deal with Mr. Timberlake, other than to say, "We're spending a great deal."

Mr. Light said the overall media spending for the campaign would benefit because of efficiencies. "It's a very rare opportunity when you can spend less and get more," Mr. Light said. "Most countries can't even dream of having this kind of quality in their markets."

German press conference
Mr. Light officially unveiled the campaign at a press conference this afternoon in Munich, Germany. The company has elected to launch its global campaign in Europe rather than the U.S., where the new marketing strategy will be rolled out Sept. 29.

"Justin is perfect for the McDonald's brand and our 'I'm lovin' it' campaign, which is based on connecting with our consumers in fresh, modern, relevant ways," Mr. Light said. "Justin Timberlake is absolutely connected to today's consumer attitudes and trends. His cultural relevance is right in tune with McDonald's new direction."

Mr. Light said the singer will participate in Ronald McDonald House Charities, World Children's Day and global sports sponsorships, including the FIFA World Cup and Olympic Games. Mr. Light hinted that other ideas beyond the song and tour were pending.

The new TV spots
Shot in 12 languages in countries including Brazil, Czech Republic, Malaysia and South Africa, the package of ads includes three brand spots for young adults, families and general audiences, a spot featuring McDonald's french fries and another featuring Ronald McDonald. The campaign was created by Heye & Partner, Unterhaching, Germany, a unit of Omnicom Group's DDB.

One spot shown at the press conference features a montage of ordinary people enjoying simple moments in life. A dog pulls along a woman on roller skates, a french fry is passed from one lover to another via a kiss, a man with a Mohawk hairstyle lifts up his identically coifed son.

"We will communicate a consistent brand message while at the same time capturing the spirit, music and flavor of each local country," Mr. Light said. "This first-of-its-kind borderless approach will let us capitalize on the powerful energy of our entire worldwide system." The effort will be the center of McDonald's first two-year marketing calendar, dubbed "rolling energy."

The song
Rather than use a shortened version of Mr. Timberlake's "I'm Lovin' It" single for the campaign jingle, McDonald's had Mona Davis Music work with Mr. Timberlake and his writing collaborators The Neptunes to craft an original jingle. The Neptunes then reworked parts to take advantage of new photography.

"The only musical element [the jingle and song] have in common are five notes and three words," Mr. Light said. "We wanted to keep the authenticity of that single in its own right which Justin sings on tour." McDonald's also brought in rappers the Clipse to handle the parts of the song.

Among the national efforts planned for this month: an Austrian promotion for free cheeseburgers aimed at 1.5 million mobile phone users; crew dances in China; giant video screen messages and commercial airings in Japan; and a national youth soccer event in Moscow's Red Square.

New uniforms
The company also announced that it has designed new uniforms for its restaurant workers that consist of a blue polo shirt and chinos.

~ ~ ~
Emma Hall contributed to this report.

Most Popular
In this article: