Iconic Ads: McDonald’s – I’m Lovin’ It

This was McDonald’s first global united campaign, appealing to individuals from all walks of life/, all languages & all cultures

In 2003, McDonald’s had suffered six earnings disappointments in a row. Because the company needed a million-dollar idea, it asked 14 advertising agencies to pitch a new campaign. This would be McDonald’s first global united campaign, thus it had to appeal to individuals from all walks of life. It had to work in all languages. It had to be the jingle that was heard all around the world.

The winning firm, Heye & Partner, was headquartered in the modest Munich neighbourhood of Unterhaching, Germany.

“One of the main insights was that going to McDonald’s is one of life’s simplest joys.”

The concept: “Ich liebe es,” which means “I adore it.” In September of that year, McDonald’s launched a campaign in Germany to honour the agency’s contribution.

Previous McDonald’s campaigns focused on “you”: You deserve a break today. We do it all for you. We love to see you smile.  People wanted to feel like they were choosing for themselves, whether it was a JT music video or a McDonald’s “experience,” and the company understood it wasn’t going to work any longer. “I’ll decide for myself,” was the attitude.

The firm contacted Mona Davis, a music production studio created by Tom Batoy and Franco Tortora, to set the phrase to music. Batoy and Tortora worked on the jingle for days until they cracked the code one night while drinking white wine. Batoy and Tortora landed on those five notes after hour after hour of futility: “ba-da-ba-BA-BAAA.”

Music, specifically hip-hop, has always been a part of the package. When Tom Batoy heard an anonymous background vocalist sing “ba da ba ba ba,” the campaign’s “audio logo,” he got the idea for it. He commented at the time, “Everybody remembers it.”

The jingle “I’m Lovin’ It” was everything from ordinary. Apart from Batoy & Tartora, It was also ascribed to Heye creative director Andreas Forberger, and Pharrell Williams as a full-fledged Timberlake song. “I’m Lovin’ It” had been intended for the former ‘NSYNC leader’s second solo album, but “since it’s already leaked to radio and the internet, he’s planning to release it this autumn,” MTV News reported in August 2003, without mentioning McDonald’s. The track was produced by Pharrell and Chad Hugo’s Neptunes, and the video was shot by Paul Hunter, who also helmed the video for Timberlake’s 2002 album Justified’s “Senorita.” In Belgium, the three-song I’m Lovin’ It EP went to No. 1

Surprisingly, the advertising blitz was the first time the historic fast-food chain employed a single message and set of commercials globally at the same time.

“I’m Lovin’ It” has gone on to become the most famous McDonald’s tagline of all time. The “ba da ba ba ba” vocal hook from the jingle, which was initially sung by Timberlake, has become more renowned than Timberlake’s actual hits.

Commission a song from a legendary musician, promote it months before the campaign, and start promoting the marketing tagline at the same time.” It’s similar to promoting a film.

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