'I'm lovin' it' a hit as McDonald's aims for new markets

LONDON – Eight months after launch, McDonald's is proclaiming its 'I'm lovin' it' campaign a success as it launches 13 new ads that will run around the world.

The thumbs-up from McDonald's comes eight months after launch despite scepticism elsewhere about the campaign, which launched at a time when the fast food giant was under attack for its unhealthy food and facing legal suits about obesity.

Larry Light, executive vice-president and global chief marketing officer at McDonald's, said the tagline 'I'm lovin' it' had become part of the language and added that the campaign, "the attitude and all of our integrated marketing" have helped McDonald's dramatically.

"We knew that to be successful, this global brand idea had to be flexible enough to be fully embraced and understood by our employees and customers. 'I'm lovin' it' has clearly shown this ability," Light said.

McDonald's says that according to research it has conducted, total advertising awareness of the "I'm lovin' it" campaign in its top 10 countries has hit 86% overall, including 89% among young adults and 87% among mothers.

"The popularity of 'I'm lovin' it' is remarkable," Bill Lamar, chief marketing officer at McDonald's, said. "It translates clearly and effectively to every language and culture and has really caught the attention of our customers here in the US."

The new ads have been made by a raft of McDonald's agencies including Leo Burnett in the US, DDB in Hong Kong and New Zealand, Leo Burnett in Australia, Burrell Communications in the US and Leo Burnett and DRM DDB in Argentina.

While the first ads focused primarily on the young, the new executions expand that to reach mothers and children as well. One spot from Argentina depicts a beautiful woman walking past admiring males only to reveal a baby on her back who smiles.

Another ad shot in New Zealand shows McDonald's "chief happiness officer" Ronald McDonald having fun with his friends, who include NBA star Yao Ming and tennis champions Venus and Serena Williams.

McDonald's said that more "I'm lovin' it" commercials will be released this summer themed to current promotions, as well as the Olympic Games in Athens, featuring Justin Timberlake, Yao Ming, and Venus and Serena Williams.

According to Light: "It's important to remember that this is about more than just advertising. It's about a new spirit and attitude that is part of the McDonald's brand today."

Another ad shot by the Chicago office of DDB Worldwide shows an office worker making photocopies as he defends his Chicken Selects from other employees.

If you have an opinion on this or any other issue raised on Brand Republic, join the debate in the Forum here.