One of the most recognizable jingles of modern times is McDonald's I'm Loving It. Believe it or not, this five-note jingle has been around since 2003. However, despite this jingle being so prevalent and well-know, there are a lot of fascinating things that are largely unknown about this audio brand. We'll breakdown some of the most interesting nuggets of information.
McDonald's First Global Campaign
I'm Loving It was the first global campaign for the fast-food giant. Before 2003, McDonald's used individual campaigns with different taglines across their international markets. The advertising campaigns were creatively and audibly unmatched.
Around 2002, to address decreasing stock prices and combat deflating sales, McDonald's decided to bring brand cohesion on deck and launched a quest for a truly global marketing campaign.
It Stemmed from an Idea Competition
McDonald's decided to invite 14 creative agencies to develop an idea - one which the restaurant would use all over the world. A German agency, Heye & Partner, submitted the tagline, Ich Liebe Es - essentially a loose translation of I'm Loving It. However, the slogan was very much just that - words on a page. It needed some musical treatment to turn it into a genuinely memorable jingle.
The Jingle was Born - After Much Wine
Another German agency, Mona Davis, won the bid to put the words to music. After a night of flowing white wine, the two agency premiers, Tom Batoy and Franco Tortora, retired to bed not before humming a rough idea into their tape recorder. Upon playback the next day, Tom and Franco knew they had landed upon The Jingle.
Mona Davis convinced McDonald's that the simple five-note tune was not only super-catchy, but it could translate culturally to any market. McDonald's could implement the melody in various musical styles to fit that particular culture (think Bulgarian) or marketing opportunity (think Olympic Games).
The client liked the idea and commissioned Mona Davis to take on music duty for all 14 of its global markets. Mona Davis did this all in seven months. This meant working with multiple creative agencies in each market to explain and implement the jingle...something which, given creative egos, was a monumental challenge.
Ultimately, Mona Davis was responsible for 3,700 final mixes of the I'm Loving It jingle. That is an incredible amount of music in the first place, let alone all based around the same five-note theme.
Justin Timberlake and Subliminal Marketing
Translation CEO and music culture expert Steve Stoute had the idea of launching a viral music campaign before the world knew anything about the relationship between McDonald's and I'm Loving It.
Justin Timberlake, fresh-off his transition to a successful solo artist, was hired to perform a song featuring the five-note jingle and the words "I'm Loving It." Song-writing and production credits went to none other than Pharrell Williams and The Neptunes. This single was "leaked" to the masses, where it gained a fair amount of notoriety - so much so that it was a number one single in Belgium.
In early 2003 many people were grooving to I'm Loving It before they knew the whole production was orchestrated by McDonald's.
I'm Loving It was Scheduled to Run for 2 Years
Over the years, the campaign has featured multiple high-profile artists, including Destiny's Child, Travis Scott, and J Balvin. But I find the most compelling fact to be that the campaign was intended to run for only two years.
Nearly twenty years later, the campaign is still going strong. McDonald's CMO has described I'm Loving It as a multi-billion dollar asset. Who'd have thought a simple five-note melody hummed by frustrated musicians after a night of white wine would have gone so far.
Note: This information contained within this article was largely sourced from one of my favorite podcasts, Twenty Thousand Hertz. It's well worth the listen.
Posted by EvolveKev
Kevin is all about research. Qualitative, quantitative, UX, you name it. When he's not researching, he's to be found laying down beats in his studio and hanging out with his dogs (and wife). Woof.