Timberlake Takes Global Stage for McDonald’s

CHICAGO Pop music star Justin Timberlake appears briefly in McDonald’s first global image campaign, which was unveiled today in Munich, Germany. The overall tagline is “I’m lovin’ it.”

Five TV spots were conceived by Heye & Partners of Unterhaching, Germany, a unit of Omnicom Group’s DDB. The campaign will roll out in other markets throughout the month, with the U.S. version making its debut on Sept. 29.

McDonald’s numerous local agencies, including Chicago shops DDB and Publicis Groupe’s Leo Burnett, will adapt the campaign for their markets.

Timberlake will record songs for several ads and make cameo appearances throughout the campaign. The newly unveiled rap-flavored “I’m Lovin’ It” jingle incorporates his lyrics and vocals. The tune will also be sung by local artists in other countries.

The work was shot in 12 languages and at a variety of locations including the Czech Republic, Brazil, South Africa and Malaysia. The commercials were directed by James Brown of Smuggler in Beverly Hills, Calif., and Stink in London. Music development was led by Mona Davis Music of Munich and Los Angeles. One of the spots features brand icon Ronald McDonald.

The Oak Brook, Ill., fast- food company adopted the tagline after a summit of all its global agencies in February. The summit and subsequent global campaign was the brainchild of global chief marketing officer Larry Light, who has stressed the company’s needs to continually think of itself as “Forever Young” (the theme of the agency summit.) The campaign is the first coordinated global effort for McDonald’s.

The new campaign is not, however, the first time Timberlake has acted as spokesman for McDonald’s. In 2000, when he was a part of NSync, Timberlake appeared in a summer music promotion with his band and pop star Britney Spears. In a spot touting the promotion from Leo Burnett in Chicago, the boy band and the pop princess were playing spin the bottle.

McDonald’s spends an estimated $1.3 billion on global advertising annually. Last year, the company’s U.S. ad expenditure alone was $720 million, per Nielsen Monitior-Plus. That figure was down 5 percent compared with 2001.