McD’s Searches For Next ‘Lovin’ It’ Idea

In what’s become a regular rite of passage for winter, McDonald’s has called in its three global agency networks to pitch ideas for its global “I’m lovin’ it” strategy, said sources.

Executives from Omnicom’s TBWA and DDB and Publicis Groupe’s Leo Burnett visited the company last Thursday and Friday with the brief to present ideas that could run in global markets in time for the company’s annual convention this May.

The agencies either declined comment or referred calls to the client. A client representative did not return calls by press time.

The agencies were not asked to alter the nearly three-year-old campaign’s “I’m lovin’ it” tagline or aural signature, said sources. The company held a similar summit last February to discuss the future of the campaign, which resulted in spots produced by Leo Burnett and DDB. “They’re doing what they always do, fishing for work before the convention,” said one source.

Though sources said the pitches were unlikely to be a winner-take-all affair, they will likely result in a handful of spots that can be adapted for global markets.

The agency with the momentum is TBWA, which has curried some recent favor from the company. The shop recently created a series of spots featuring people having slice-of-life conversations with Ronald McDonald statues, and it also created a spot to run during the upcoming Winter Olympics.

The recent pitches were the first to be led by Mary Dillon, the company’s new global chief marketing officer. Dillon, a former president of Quaker Oats, succeeded Larry Light, who was the architect behind the agency’s first-ever global effort, in the post last December.

McDonald’s last week announced that its net income for 2005 increased 14 percent to $2.6 billion. Overall revenue increased 6 percent to more than $20 billion. The company spends an estimated $1.4 billion on global advertising.