Will the 11-year-old “I’m Lovin’ It” jingle-an earworm if ever there was one-soon be just a memory? After all, McDonald’s recently hired ad agency Leo Burnett to refresh its image. And Marlena Peleo-Lazar, the campaign’s architect, left McD’s in September. No matter what happens, the campaign has already made marketing history.
Before “I’m Lovin’ It,” No McDonald’s ad campaign had lasted longer than four years. The prior longevity champs were “McDonald’s is your kind of place” (1967 to 1971) and “It’s a good time for the great taste of McDonald’s” (1984 to 1988). Though the cheeseburger may be an American invention, “I’m Lovin’ It” is not. Developed by the German agency Heye & Partner, the campaign actually Premiered in Munich as “Ich Liebe Es.” The first worldwide McDonald’s campaign, it has appeared in 120 countries in more than 20 languages, though to varying effect (Azerbaijan’s “Bax, Budur Sevdiyim” translates to “See, this is the love.”) McDonald’s paid Justin Timberlake an estimated $6 million to sing the inescapable “ba-da-ba-ba-bah” jingle in the first U. S. “I’m Lovin’ It” TV spots in 2003. Pharrell Williams produced a three-track “I’m Lovin’ It” E. P.-complete with an instrumental version-in November 2003. It topped the charts in Belgium.